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NEW YORK — Mass market retailers hope to start 2005 off with products that will eliminate any need for consumers to shop anywhere else.
They are asking manufacturers for items that not only duplicate those found in department stores, but also for pampering products once only available in spas or salons.
“The mass market is looking for opportunities in the market to fill consumer needs,” said Dan Zarazan, vice president of sales and marketing of Naterra, which markets the Tree Hut brand.
A survey of retailers and manufacturers identified the following products and categories as ones to watch this year.
Upscale Skin Care: Mass market retailers have proven they can sell everything from microdermabrasion to cosmeceuticals. Buyers are excited about the next step — ReNoviste, a glycolic peel kit from L’Oréal Paris. “I think the timing is right,” said a buyer for a top drug chain. Like L’Oréal Paris ReFinish Micro-Dermabrasion Kit, ReNoviste offers mass marketers an avenue to sell skin care at price points approaching the $30 mark.
Spa-inspired items are also flooding the shelves. Based on the success of its body creams, such as Shea Butter and Nut Butter, Naterra is expanding into dry oil mists. Naterra sold off its Time Block and Skin Milk lines last year to Helen of Troy to concentrate on filling in niche segments of the market.
According to Zarazan, the dry mists are an example of a category that hasn’t been available at mass until now. “We did research and found consumers like the dry oil mist because they are easy to use and greaseless,” said Zarazan. The dry oil mists are available in flavors such as Sesame and Mango.
Fragrances Redux?: In March, Coty will launch Stetson Black, which retailers think will benefit from the strong Stetson brand name and a big marketing budget. Retailers are also rubbing their hands together in glee over the mass availability of Curious Britney Spears, hoping it will do for them what it did for department stores. “Love her or hate her, she has wide appeal to our shoppers,” said one top retail buyer.
Licensing: Retailers found consumers are willing to shell out a few extra bucks for products bearing licensed figures, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty. This year Townley Inc. has grabbed a major name, “That’s So Raven,” a television show on the Disney Channel featuring character Raven Symone. The show is one of the most popular with the tween age group. Also this year, MZB Personal Care will give Barbie toiletries a revamp. There will be a high-performance hair care line aimed at a slightly older user than existing Barbie toiletries. Wal-Mart is the first to sell the line.
Faking Glows: The success of Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs has spawned Sally Hansen Airbrush Sun. The formula is designed to work with the skin’s own natural amino acids. There is a version for face and one for body. The tan is buildable and can be applied every few days to darken the glow.
Deluxe Ethnic: Retailers have said Black Radiance’s new Perfect Tone Loose Powder is similar to a loose powder by Chanel. The powder provides a sheer to natural matte finish that is designed to even out skin tone. The suggested retail is $4.99.
Nail Care: With nail polish sales still flat, retailers are looking to devote more space to treatment products similar to those sold in salons. Sally Hansen is adding Diamond Strength Diamond Shine and Diamond Strength Cuticle and Nail Oil to its growing treatment lineup. Also, the company is segmenting mature users with a new Age Correct Dry + Brittle Anti-Aging Nail Treatment and Age Correct Hand Lift Firming Serum.
Loose Lips: Buyers are expressing concern over the sales slide in the once robust lip category. The category is being closely watched for signs of life, according to one buyer from a major discounter. “So much for the idea women can always afford a new lipstick even if they don’t buy a new dress,” she said. According to Information Resources Inc., lipstick sales fell 11 percent to $388.9 million for the 52-week period ended Dec. 26, 2004. There were a few promising product launches such as L’Oréal Volume Perfect and Maybelline Forever Metallics. However, some of the transfer-proof brands that had added lift to sales have started sagging. Cover Girl’s Outlast took a 25 percent dive, while Maybelline’s Wet Shine declined 32 percent.
Cross Promotions: Wal-Mart’s link with All My Children and the Enchantment fragrance was just the beginning. Retailers said manufacturers are looking for unique cross-marketing opportunities such as Bonne Bell’s deal with Reebok. Girls who buy new Reebok sneakers get a customized Lip Smacker as a gift.
The beauty care category at mass could use some excitement. Overall sales are flat versus last year and consumers are being enticed by values at dollar stores. Industry analyst Allan Mottus warned, “The time is now for mass retailers to do something to get shoppers back.”