By  on March 18, 1994

ATLANTA -- Rehydrate, refirm and regenerate -- these are the buzzwords that are creating consumer interest and spurring treatment sales in the Southeast, say retailers.

The merchants stressed that customers want quick-working, easy-to-understand products that fit their busy lifestyles. It was also noted that the interest in alpha-hydroxy acid products continues and, as a result, the skin care category is showing increases across the board.

At Rich's, Atlanta, treatment is outpacing fragrance and color, according to Pat Joyce, divisional merchandise manager. There have been double-digit increases for the year to date in the category and Joyce considers treatment to be a big growth category for 1994.

This month the store is launching an advertising campaign targeted to "taking the mystery out of skin care," she said. Each week, Rich's will sponsor a full-page four-color advertisement that will tackle a skin care problem and focus on a product to help solve it.

"The basic idea is, 'If this is your problem, here's the product, this is how it works, and this is why it works,"' explained Joyce.

Joyce said she felt women have become much more aware of their skin, can describe their specific problems and want to be able to treat them. She pointed to Lancome's Renergie and Lauder's Resilience as problem-specific products.

The AHA items are also still in the treatment limelight, said Joyce. She sees no slowing of the trend and thinks it will continue to grow through this year.

Estee Lauder's Fruition, Clinique's Turnaround Cream and Prescriptives' All You Need are all still strong sellers, Joyce said. She also noted she's already seeing positive reaction to the February launch of Elizabeth Arden's Alpha-Ceramide.

Joyce is also excited about Lift Off by Aramis, the recently introduced alpha-hydroxy treatment product for men. She predicted Lift Off will account for 25 to 30 percent of Aramis's total sales.

"The baby boomers are now in their 40s and 50s, and while the women have been taking preventative steps for years, the men now aren't liking what they see," she said.

An upcoming product launch for which Joyce has high expectations is Christian Dior's Svelte, the anti-cellulite cream that she said has been hyped by the press.

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