By  on March 18, 1994

LOS ANGELES -- The treatment business is treating West Coast stores well, say area retailers, who noted that alpha-hydroxy acid products continue to drive sales.

Two lines -- Estee Lauder and Clinique -- were consistently mentioned as being at the forefront.

At Gottchalks, based in Fresno, Calif., Lauder, Clinique, Lancome and Elizabeth Arden are the biggest selling lines, according to Bob Wiser, divisional merchandise manager of cosmetics and accessories.

"Lauder had an outstanding year last year with their alpha-hydroxy acid product, Fruition. It drove my treatment business with Lauder up 25 percent," Wiser said. "With Clinique, Turnaround Cream was the magic formula, and I had a high-teens increase in Clinique. Those two products essentially drove my treatment business."

Lauder and Clinique led the pack at Macy's West, San Francisco, according to Sandy Pearce, vice president for cosmetics and fragrances. She said business in treatment products is currently up about 10 percent.

"Fruition has been terrific, and Turnaround Cream has been wildly successful," said Pearce, pointing out that Elizabeth Arden, with Alpha-Ceramide, and Prescriptives, with All You Need, are viable new contenders in the AHA arena.

At I. Magnin, San Francisco, Alexandra de Markoff, Lancaster, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and La Prairie, as well as the ubiquitous Lauder, are the leading lines, according to Adrienne Hoyer, senior vice president and general merchandise manager.

I. Magnin had been showing skin care gains of up to 13 percent, but with the Woodland Hills store closed and the Beverly Hills store somewhat affected by the earthquake that struck Los Angeles in mid-January, "Gains in treatment products have since leveled off at 8 percent overall," Hoyer said.

While alpha-hydroxy acid products are not that new a story, they remain the emphasis of the treatment business, with more companies launching products.

"Manufacturers wouldn't be creating them if they weren't still a major trend," Adrienne Hoyer said.

"Middle America really understands the acid products; there's been a lot of press on them, so the consumer understands what they do and how they work," said Bob Wiser.

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