By  on May 13, 1994

ATLANTA -- Sales of sun, bath and body products have been a bright spot for Southeast retailers this year.

Each category has been showing strong gains so far, in some cases outpacing other areas of the cosmetics business, the retailers said.

The sun care business has been boosted by new self-tanning products that combine treatment properties or offer convenience, such as self-tanning sprays.

Bath and body sales, retailers noted, have been spurred by unique specialty lines.

At Rich's, sales of sun products have been increasing by more than 20 percent for two years, according to Pat Joyce, vice president and divisional merchandise manager.

The category is off to a good start this spring, with key introductions such as SuperTan from EstÄe Lauder and Self Tan Mist from Clinique. Lauder's SuperTan has had a strong sell-through since its recent introduction, Joyce said.

"We get it in and it's gone," she said.

Sun and environmental protection products continue to be strong as people become more aware of potential damaging effects from exposure to the elements, said Joyce.

Year-to-date bath and body sales are double those of last year, she noted, as Rich's has increased and updated its assortment and space and added lines.

One new line, Goodebodies, has been added in all stores; in Rich's top eight doors, shop concepts were installed. Joyce said the line has done well, listing as best-selling products aromatherapy candles, skin care, anti-frizz hair products and wooden brushes and combs.

"Everyone is looking for a way to unwind. This product is simple to understand, and 100 percent natural," said Joyce. "We're looking for continued growth."

This spring, said Joyce, Rich's also introduced VitaSpa by Vitabath to good response. Aromatherapy and bath gel products have sold well, as have kits that combine products for added value.

In-store selling specialists and events have been more effective than gift-with-purchase and purchase-with-purchase promotions, she noted.

"People don't really need incentives to buy these products," said Joyce, "although they do respond well to attractive presentations, special events and percentage-off sales."

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