The prestige skin care category continued to lead the way in U.S. department stores in February, with a 13 percent gain in dollar sales, according to The NPD Group.
The entire prestige beauty category posted a 9 percent gain in dollar sales for February, a high-water mark that was the culmination of positive business that swept through 2010 and January into last month.
The 13 percent increase in sales for skin care for February was accompanied by a 9 percent gain in sales for makeup and a 5 percent increase in fragrance.
Year-to-date figures, including January and February, of total prestige beauty amounted to $1.17 billion, an increase of 8 percent versus a year ago. Within that same two-month time frame, skin care chalked up an 11 percent increase, makeup gained 8 percent, and fragrance posted a 6 percent rise.
Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at NPD, said the skin care sales in February eclipsed the category’s prerecession high in 2008. Men’s and women’s fragrances also beat the 2008 prerecession high in 2008 by a margin of $25 million and makeup beat the same mark by $10 million.
Grant said the chances of continuing this surge are looking good, since consumer confidence is “ticking up.” The strong launches of last year from Clinique, Gucci and Chanel created a momentum that is carrying the business through the early part of this year. If this year’s upcoming introductions are strong, more positive numbers could roll right through this year, she added.