NEW YORK -- While it is still only a niche in the department store beauty business, prestige retailers point to the budding bath and body category as one of their bright spots.
One key to the brisk gains, which are reaching 25 percent in some stores, is the effort made by manufacturers to create unusual, treatment-oriented fragrance extensions.
"Prestige manufacturers have found that the best way for them to compete with the bath and body world is to stick with what they do best," said John Turcotte, vice president and general manager of Elizabeth Arden Spa. "Instead of venturing into new businesses, they are expanding traditional fragrance boundaries."
"Consumers do like to buy different kinds of products -- like lotions -- along with the fragrance," said Jane Scott, vice president of Bloomingdale's. "And a lot of companies seem to be coming out with unique products. Donna Karan has been highly successful with the bath line, and it actually carries a different scent altogether from the main fragrance. [Ralph Lauren's] Polo Sport has also done exceptionally well."
Department stores are also stocking an abundance of specialty bath lines. One brand, Goodebodies, has been given an unusually large amount of space and attention in Federated Department Stores.
In the Atlanta-based Rich's, for instance, Goodebodies has been added to 19 Rich's beauty departments and included in five doors of the chain's Goldsmith's division. In addition, Rich's built Goodebodies boutiques in eight of its stores.
"Everyone is looking for a way to unwind. This product is simple to understand, and 100 percent natural," said Pat Joyce, vice president and divisional merchandise manager. "We're looking for continued growth."
McRae's in Jackson, Miss., launched Goodebodies in all of its 28 stores in November, and constructed in-store shops in two doors. Plans are to roll out the shop concept to all the units this fall.
Other bath lines are making a mark in department stores, as well.
"For us, specialty bath lines on the whole continue to grow," said Rita Burke, senior vice president at Macy's East. "Basically, there are so many entries that newness keeps driving it along. There aren't any standouts; sales are spread out over a bunch of different lines."Sun care manufacturers haven't been resting on their laurels, either. Retailers cited a bevy of new product variations, particularly in the self-tanning arena.
"What has become the number-one item in that category is self-tanning sprays," said Diane Gates, divisional vice president for cosmetics at the Seattle-based Bon Marche.
The greatest challenge to department stores in the sun arena comes from drugstores, although most retailers believe it's impossible to compare the two types of retailers fairly.
"It's a totally different customer," Gates said. "I think the drugstore customer is really looking for a lot of protection, rather than self-tanners, and they're looking toward products for the entire family, so there may be a limit as to how much they're willing to pay."
Al Wines, divisional merchandising manager for Los Angeles-based Carter Hawley Hale, said, "Competing with drugstores is a major education process. Many consumers are still not even aware that they can buy sun care at the department store cosmetics counter.
"Beyond that, they must learn how the ingredients differ," he continued. "What they get from a Lauder product is a lot different from what they'll get from a $2 tanning oil."
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye