By  on March 18, 1994

CHICAGO -- Midwest retailers reported healthy gains in treatment sales last year and cited signs of strength in early 1994, as alpha-hydroxy acid products continue to top the charts.

Results ranged up to mid-double-digit percentage increases for 1993 and retailers said they expect sales this year to grow at the mid- to high-single-digit rate.

Lancome, Clinique and Estee Lauder led the rosters at most stores, while Chanel and La Prairie also captured attention at treatment counters.

Nancy Schmidt, divisional merchandise manager for Carson Pirie Scott & Co. in Milwaukee, reported that "treatment business has been terrific, due in large part to Fruition by Lauder and Turnaround Cream by Clinique."

Treatment showed a mid-double-digit increase last year, and Schmidt said she expects that pace to continue.

"Counters are experienced now in selling the new treatments," she said, noting that the alpha-hydroxy acid-based items introduced last year are among the strongest sellers in the store.

Lancome's Nutriforce sparked early gains, putting the brand's treatment sales ahead 10 percent, Schmidt noted, adding that good in-store visuals helped promote the product.

Carson's other top sellers include Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion and Lancome's Renergie Yeux anti-wrinkle eye cream.

"We're expecting really big things from Lancome's Bienfait Total later this spring," said Schmidt of the upcoming April launch of the moisturizer.

But it's the exfoliating products that have customers' attentions for now, she said.

"They're thrilled with the results, either real or imagined. We've got repeat business which says it all, and I don't see it letting up," she said.

"AHA products are still very hot, still driving the business," agreed Irene Price, buyer for Jacobson's Stores Inc., headquartered in Jackson, Mich.

Price noted that 1994 treatment results were up in the mid-single digits, largely on the strength of new introductions. She termed as "incredible" the recent launches of Nutriforce and Lauder's Resilience.

Jacobson's bestsellers also include Chanel's Day Lift and Night Lift, Turnaround Cream, Fruition and La Prairie's Age Management Series.

Price is looking forward to the redesign and launch of Chanel's Lift Serum Extreme, billed as an advanced version of the Lift Serum anti-wrinkle cream.

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