By  on February 4, 2013

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Like every year at the International Salon and Spa Expo, held Jan. 26 to 28 at the convention center here, manufacturers trotted out launches in product categories from nail polish to hair color. This year, though, the launches often took a backseat to initiatives to drive business at salons, still ailing from the consumer pullback that hit when the economy tanked.

Although ISSE attracted about 400 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees, par for the course in recent editions of the expo, results of surveys conducted by its producer, the Professional Beauty Association, show salons remain on shaky ground. In the third quarter last year, the last quarter for which data is available, its salon-spa performance index measuring the health and outlook of the industry in the U.S. was at 101.9, flat from the year before and the lowest it has been in four quarters.

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