Results remain promising for the prestige beauty industry, The NPD Group’s Karen Grant said Monday.


Grant, who is vice president and global industry analyst for NPD’s beauty sector, said that the month of March continued to show positive growth in the prestige arena, with dollars up 2 percent in March as compared with March 2010. In that period, fragrances increased 6 percent in dollar sales, and makeup and skin care both rose by 1 percent in dollars.


Grant noted that total prestige beauty sales year to date (January through March 2011) were $1.98 billion, an increase of 5 percent over the same period last year. In that period, fragrance’s year-to-date dollar performance rose 6 percent, while makeup increased 5 percent and skin care 6 percent.


Grant noted that both skin care and makeup were up against stronger comps than fragrance, which last year was down 1 percent year-on-year. By contrast, last year skin care was up against an 8 percent gain, and color a 6 percent gain. “Skin care came out of its decline in November 2009, makeup in May 2010 and fragrance in August 2010,” Grant said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “We anticipated that skin care might have a run for its money [this year] because last year was so strong.”


Grant pointed to Clinique’s skin care launches, MAC Cosmetics’ Wonder Woman color collection, Lancôme mascara and Marc Jacobs Daisy as standout products. She added that while newness, as always, “created a lot of lift” in sales, classics, especially in fragrance, also performed strongly.


“We do expect a positive year, but it’s not a time to sit back,” said Grant. “Driving the newness and launching great products will continue to be critical.”

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