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Beauty Round Up: March 25, 2011

Data released from Symphony/IRI Group provides a few pleasant surprises for the beauty industry for stores in the drug, food and mass channels.

Beauty Category Growth That Might Surprise

When the numbers are crunched and scrutinized, there may be a few categories exhibiting growth that might catch even the best industry watcher off guard. Data from the 52-week period ended Jan. 23 released from Symphony/IRI Group provides a few pleasant surprises for the beauty industry for stores in the drug, food and mass channels (excluding Wal-Mart).


Starting with eyes, sales are simmering in a handful of areas including eye combination kits where volume jumped almost 85 percent; eye liner sales were up almost 9 percent. Overall eye dollar sales rose 8.8 percent as consumers continued to seek a smoky eye look. The combos sell both liners and color in many cases. The category also benefitted from the wide array of lash growth serum mascaras.


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Women also veered back to storage products after years of bypassing the category. Perhaps those old Caboodles are finally wearing out or seem too dated and juvenile for most shoppers. That category produced sales expansion of 17 percent.


Cosmetics, in fact, were also a present to sales. For the past few years, the mass channel has eked out only 3 percent gains at best. For the period tracked, however, facial cosmetics sales rose 7.3 percent and nail jumped 11 percent. The only decline was in lip, which was off 2.8 percent. There were notable introductions in beauty, but many of the gains are produced by improved store ambience and a reduction of discounted price tags.


Other beauty categories bringing more shoppers to mass doors included hair color which expanded 4.3 percent (thanks somewhat to the new hair foams) and the bath category which is starting to bubble again, up 2 percent with plenty of potential. During a recent conference call, in fact, Ulta executives said they are relaunching their bath department to keep up with renewed demand. Even more commodity categories are looking up: shampoo sales increased almost 2 percent and skin care sales rose about 1 percent. Although skin care is one of the biggest draws in appeal to shoppers, sales growth is kept at bay by continued lowering of price points. Placing more sun products in beauty has helped elevate sales 10 percent in that category.


While these are just numbers, they do exemplify the fact that not only is the beauty business coming back, but that shoppers are sticking with mass doors rather than migrating in force back to prestige doors as the economy improves. Research from major firms such as WSL Strategic Retail and Mintel suggest shoppers are coming back, but they are going to stick to frugality and seek retailers that offer them quality items at value prices. If played right, the mass market should be able to hang onto its new found beauty boom.

People, Place and Things

A few words with Doug Hosking, CEO Freeman Beauty about recent introductions and moves by the company.

WWDBeautyNews: What drove you to update the Freeman Beauty Web site?
Hosking: Simply having an online presence isn’t enough anymore. In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, we needed a site that stood out and reflected the bold and fun spirit of Freeman Beauty. The look and layout of a site is a lot like the packaging of Freeman’s products; we wanted to visually express what our brands stand for while making it quick and easy for consumers to select and purchase products.

WWDBeautyNews: Is natural getting more important in the spa-bath mass market category?
Hosking: Consumers at all income levels are increasingly realizing the importance of not just the ingredients in the food they put in their body but also the ingredients in the products they put on it. Natural ingredients are absolutely becoming more important within the mass market category, as everyone looking for beauty care products formulated with good-for-you ingredients is looking for value.

WWDBeautyNews: Are mass market retailers starting to revisit the spa/bath category now?
Hosking: Mass market beauty sections have evolved and are marked by effective designs and premium displays. Within this retail renaissance, the spa-bath category is incredibly important because these are consumers who are looking for an indulgent, pampering at home experience and are now able to find them in this value based shopping environment. What’s particularly exciting to these consumers about Freeman Beauty is that we offer such an extensive selection of quality products at a value, allowing them to experiment with as many products as they desire without guilt or regret.

What’s In Store


Solano Launches ‘Show Your Power Behind The Chair Contest’: Competition heats up with the start of the Solano “Show Your POWER Behind the Chair” contest. Entries are now being accepted with one hair stylist and cosmetology student scoring a trip to New York City and an opportunity of a lifetime: to assist a celebrity hair stylist backstage at a New York Fashion Week show.


Walgreens Names Joseph Magnacca President of Daily Living Products and Solutions: Walgreens announced that Joseph Magnacca will become the company’s new President of Daily Living Products and Solutions. In his new role Magnacca will oversee Walgreens marketing and merchandising operations led by Chief Marketing Officer, Kim Feil and Chief Merchandising Officer, Bryan Pugh. In addition, Magnacca will continue to lead the integration of the Duane Reade drug stores, which Walgreens acquired in April 2010. In his expanded role, Magnacca will bring together Walgreens marketing and merchandising functions to help enhance and carry out the company’s strategy to be America’s first choice for health and daily living. “We are bringing together and raising the profile of one of the strongest teams in retail to lead our marketing and merchandising efforts and enhance our daily living products business, much as we have already enhanced our pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions business,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “Joe’s exceptional strategic market focus, combined with the leadership, experience and expertise that Kim and Bryan have brought to our marketing and merchandising operations means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers. In addition, the creative innovations and improvements that Joe brought to Duane Reade will now benefit and be extended across our entire organization.”