The cosmetics and fragrance ECRM show kicked off this week in Denver. Despite the lack of the presence of the architect of the meeting, Charlie Bowlus, who passed away unexpectedly last year, the get-together was brimming with excitement and positive moods.

Bowlus’ son, Mitch, called the attendance “awesome.”  Those attending praised Mitch and his team for keeping the spirit alive of the shows.

For some, this year marked a return to the show after a few years off. For many, the interest in the show is reflected in an uptick in consumer confidence. “We did not attend the show last year but did the year before. I am told this show has a better attendance than last year, up double digits. For us, the show is exceptional with many new business opportunities. If we are able to land just a few, we will have had a fantastic show,” said Robert Wallner, vice president of sales for Milani. “Charlie’s untimely passing has not impacted the mood of the show or the quality. He vision, dedication, and focus has made the show the success it is. I personally believe his legacy will stand the test of time and continue to dominant,”

The attendance was impressive, bringing back some large chains who had skipped recent years. The list of those meeting with suppliers included Walgreens, Dollar General, Wegman, Meijer and a cadre of Canadian retailers.

Shawn Haynes who was recently named vice president of sales at e.l.f. cosmetics agreed that the mood was optimistic. His firm showed off new holiday, back to school and spring programs. “We have had an excellent reaction to our holiday program for 2012 and expect significant growth across all channels of retail,” said Haynes. He added Mitch had transitioned into the role of running the shows “without missing a beat.” 

The next ECRM meeting involving the beauty business will take place in Monte Carlo on Feb. 19 for the international trade and in Las Vegas July 23 for cosmetics and skin care.

People, Place and Things

A few words with NPD’s vice president and senior global industry analyst Karen Grant on the latest beauty numbers. The total U.S. prestige beauty industry experienced an 11 percent increase in dollar sales during 2011, according to NPD, with skin care and fragrance sold in U.S. department stores posting double-digit gains.


Grant: In the [United States], [United Kingdom] and China, prestige beauty is enjoying one of the most robust sales periods ever. In the [United States], for example, beauty sales in both the mass and prestige channels were positive month after month in 2011. And while both channels were positive, prestige beauty reigned supreme. From the stellar increases in prestige skin care to the continued gains in makeup to the double-digit rebound of fragrance, prestige beauty is experiencing a time of unprecedented growth.

Grant: In continental Europe where the prestige market is more mature, growth is more tempered, and performance among the categories has not been as dynamic as in the U.S. or U.K. But nonetheless, prestige beauty managed to flourish thanks to brand media investment, bigger in-store animation and price promotions.

What’s In Store:


Love is in the Air: According to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion. Retailers are setting up fragrance gift sets in hopes some of that spending will be on scents.

Eucerin Opens Skin Institute: The world’s first Eucerin Skin Institute opened in an old post office in Hamburg, Germany this week. The Eucerin Skin Institute is not only a store, but also a consumer learning facility with skin diagnosis and personal consultations.

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