ATLANTA--Treatment is showing significant gains in the Southeast, area retailers said, based on continued interest in alpha-hydroxy acid products as well as a strong crop of recent eye-product launches. Through the spring, retailers expect anti-cellulite products to give another boost to the category through the launch of advanced products. The Rich's/Goldsmith's/ Lazarus division of Federated Department Stores reported 1994 sales gains in the high single digits, with last month's figures reaching into the low double digits. According to Pat Joyce, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for the division, the treatment category should see similar gains through the rest of the first quarter. Joyce said skin care is now very much an item-driven business, due to the success of new products such as Estee Lauder's Fruition, Lancome's Bienfait Total and Clinique's Turnaround Cream. Clinique, Lauder and Lancome are the top-selling lines, with Origins its fastest growing. "Origins has shown spectacular growth," said Joyce. "With its customer appeal and price points, it is the line of the Nineties and past the year 2000." She added that Prescriptives, with products such as Line Preventor 3, has also been successful. In the spring, the category should get a shot in the arm from new cellulite treatment products from Lauder (ThighZone) and Lancome (Reflexe Minceur Cellulite Control Gel). "[Anti-cellulite] has been around before without much success," Joyce said. "But with the body consciousness of consumers, plus the national advertising from major vendors, we feel the category will take off this time." At the Birmingham, Ala.-based Parisian, skin care sales showed "significant double-digit" increases during 1994 and are expected to continue on the same track through this spring, according to Howard Koch, divisional merchandise manager for cosmetics. Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome and Prescriptives are the store's top-selling lines. Elizabeth Arden and Erno Laszlo have also shown strong gains, based on strong recent introductions. "Alpha-hydroxy products are still big," said Koch. "And now we're entering into the second generation of alpha-hydroxy, with more focused, specialized offshoots of the original." Koch added that other specialized products, such as Prescriptives' Eye Specialist, have brought added value to skin care regimens, while products such as Laszlo's Beta Complex treatment for acne have helped introduce skin care to a younger generation. The treatment category at the Jackson, Miss.-based McRae's is up 27 percent for the year to date, buoyed by successful launches in eye care, according to Chris Evans, divisional merchandise manager. Lancome's Expressive, Lauder's Resilience and Prescriptives' Eye Specialist have all sold well. Evans projected sales gains at 15 to 20 percent for the first quarter of this year and noted that yearend gains for 1994 were at 11 percent. Alpha-hydroxy acid products are still bestsellers. "The alpha-hydroxy trend is still big and growing, yet not at quite the same pace as the last few years," said Evans. He added that the anti-cellulite category should boost spring business, citing, like Rich's Joyce, the new launches from Lancome and Lauder. "Technology has improved and the benefit claims of these products are much greater than in the past," he said. "Also, vendors are doing a better job of making consumers aware." The store's top treatment lines, in order, are Lauder, Clinique and Lancome, Evans said. Prescriptives, which was up 35 percent in 1994, is McRae's fastest growing line, based on aggressive advertising and a heavy sampling program for its core products, such as All You Need and Line Preventor. Best-selling items include Lauder's Fruition and Advanced Night Repair; Clinique's Clarifying Lotion and Turnaround Cream, and Lancome's Bienfait Total.
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