LOS ANGELES--Last year, when many new acid-based and high tech moisturizing products were launched, treatment found a new loyal customer base in California, according to retailers here. And the early indications for 1995 suggest this is not a passing fad, as skin care sales continue to climb. "Repeat sales have been phenomenal on acid-based products," said Robert Wiser, divisional merchandise manager at Gottschalk's, based in Fresno, Calif. "Our growth, considering the state of the economy in California, has been very solid." In 1994, Gottschalk's posted a 9 percent sales increase in skin care sales, and Wiser said he expects similar figures for the first half of 1995. Leading the treatment pack are Clinique's Turnaround Cream, EstAe Lauder's Fruition, Resilience and Advanced Night Repair, and LancOme's Bien- fait Total and Renergie. Wiser said he has high expectations for new products such as Lauder's Resilience for Eyes, Clinique's Daily Eye Saver and LancOme's Bienfait Total Day Cream. Christian Dior's Svelte was a big success last year, Wiser said, adding he anticipates similar results from new anti-cellulite products like Lauder's ThighZone and LancOme's RAflexe Minceur Cellulite Refining Gel. Wiser said the market is more item-driven now than it was five years ago. But he noted that companies are starting to introduce new products to be used in conjunction with their star products, which Wiser said eventually will strengthen the concept of a multiproduct regimen. Michael Lewis, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Macy's West, San Francisco, echoed the sentiment. "A company will create exposure on a key product, then build up three or four products to go with it," he said. Lewis called treatment the driving force behind Macy's and Bullock's beauty business, though he declined to discuss sales figures. According to sources, skin care sales have been gaining by around 10 percent so far this year at Macy's. "The treatment category is the meat and potatoes of today's industry," he said. "Without it, it's difficult to build a loyal customer base." Heavy hitters at Macy's are Lauder's Fruition, Advanced Night Repair and Resilience, Bienfait Total and Princess Marcella Borghese's Termi di Montecatini spa treatments. Margo Scavarda, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at The Broadway, said her business had "good" sales growth in 1994 and she was optimistic for a similar success in 1995. Skin care sales have been gaining in the high single digits, she noted. "The miracle in a jar is what's fueling [the industry]," Scavarda said. Among the standout products at The Broadway are Fruition and Resilience, Turnaround Cream and LancOme's Bienfait Total and Renergie. Shiseido and Ultima II are also fast growing lines, Scavarda said. She predicted anti-cellulite products such as Lauder's ThighZone are going to be hot items this spring. Although Scavarda said cosmetics companies pursue all age groups, Wiser said baby boomers are still getting the most attention. "It's the largest part of the population," Wiser said of the boomers, "and they're the most concerned with skin care." But Lewis noted that the demand for strong treatment products is not limited to one age group, saying, "All ages are conscious of skin care needs--even young kids."
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