Neutrogena’s slow and careful strategy of building its cosmetics portfolio with only a few technologically focused items each year is being recognized by retailers as chains expand space the brand owns on cramped cosmetics walls in 2008.

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This year Neutrogena has grown from 3-foot sets to 4-foot sets in most drug and mass stores, and continues to hold its 8-foot sections in Target and Wal-Mart units, despite an increasingly competitive environment. Leela Petrakis, general manager for Neutrogena’s cosmetics business, said the additional space is attributed to a repositioning by retailers as they phase out slower-moving items, as well as to Neutrogena’s new strategy of launching products in January and in the summer instead of just once a year in January.

Petrakis, who joined Neutrogena 20 months ago from L’Oréal USA when the firm’s makeup business transplanted to New York from Los Angeles, said the cosmetics market is “much more saturated [now than when it first launched to market in 1999]. And with really big companies that have 15 or 16 or 17 percent of the market, for us to compete we have to provide technology with benefits, new delivery systems and packaging that is created in a way that is simple for consumers to understand, but also pretty sophisticated.” Industry sources estimate Neutrogena’s cosmetics dollar share is less than half of those numbers.

This year also marks Neutrogena’s big push into color, as face makeup has traditionally been its bread and butter. In January, the brand launched Nourishing Eye Duos, which use formulas that are “loaded with soy” so as to condition the eye’s upper lid, said Petrakis. The duos, available in eight shades, sell for $8.49 each. There is also Healthy Volume Mascara, for $7.99, which claims to build lash volume by 400 percent and is formulated with olive oil. Neutrogena also expanded its minerals franchise to include a compact foundation in eight shades, selling for $11 each.

Summer items, a first for Neutrogena, include several line extensions, such as a new liquid mineral foundation, Mineral Sheers Liquid Makeup, packaged in a vial with a brush on one end for application. The foundation is available in 12 shades and “is one of our bigger lines, and is why the retailers expanded our space,” Petrakis said. There’s also a new shade of 3-in-1 Concealer for Eyes with SPF 20 for $9.99, and new shades of MoistureShine Lip Soothers and MoistureShine Lip Sheers.