By  on February 22, 2008

NEW YORK — Del Laboratories is licking its lips over the potential in the lip category.

Under the Sally Hansen logo, Del has created a display housing a variety of its lip products called the Lip Lab.

"This is the direct result of our success over the last three years in lip, starting with Lip Inflation," said Harvey Alstodt, president of Del Cosmetics. Lip Inflation has been among many drug chains' top-selling spots for more than a year. "We saw what was going on in the specialty lip market and said, 'Why not create a place to find the newest innovations in what is good for you?'"

Alstodt added that the interest in lips and lip care is also fueled by consumer desire to avoid cosmetic surgery and opt for retail products to reduce signs of aging. Lip Lab offers mass retailers an opportunity to capitalize on the interest in noninvasive procedures currently touted at mini spas and by skin care experts.

The freestanding Lip Lab can be placed as a display on the sales floor or affixed to end-of-aisle displays. Units are being erected in more than 17,000 mass retail doors. The 16-inch-wide by 66-inch-high display is not intended for in-line merchandising, but rather as a secondary location for lip items. "We feel this will deliver incremental sales," said Alstodt.

In an unusual twist, Lip Lab products will be touted via pre-packs later this year, rather than introduced in promotional counter displays. There will be innovative items implemented into Lip Lab as they are developed, with some major debuts slated for early next year.

Sherry Saffert, divisional merchandising manager of beauty for CVS Pharmacy, said, "We are very excited about this launch. This is a freestanding unit, which houses lip treatment items that are fortified with natural and beneficial ingredients."

Products in the Lip Lab are organized by type — for example, all plumpers together, lip care next to each other and color is a segmented spot. Some of the items featured include Gentle Plumpin Lip Treatment, touted as gain without the pain; Lipnotic Gem Gloss for rough lips; Satin Effects Lip Gloss for dull lips, and Lip Line Lip Repair for all-day hydration. There is also a base coat for lips to prevent feathering and bleeding, as well as an Overnight Lip Recovery. Prices in the lip collection from Sally Hansen range from $6.95 for Satin Effects Lip Gloss to $9.95.Consumers have very different needs in lip, Alstodt observed. Some want color, while others want natural choices, which are included in Lip Lab. Some want what he calls "caring" and color. The lip color business, according to ACNielsen 52-week sales data for the period ended Jan. 26, dipped 1.8 percent to $550 million (excluding Wal-Mart). During that same period, however, Sally Hansen's business increased and its share of lip expanded, said Alstodt. Retailers who viewed the Lip Lab at the recent ECRM show said it was an effective way for mass merchants to present a specialty statement in lips.

Although the Sally Hansen name is synonymous with nail care, the company has made successful forays into foot care products over the past two years. With Lip Lab, the company is hoping to carve out a substantial sales wedge in lip, too. "We want to extend the Sally name," Alstodt said.

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