Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Special Report issue 01/29/2010

For 2010, salon owners aim to make service sales a key focus, according to Steve Sleeper, executive director of the Professional Beauty Association, the trade group that represents salon and spa owners, manufacturers and distributors. To help build sales, business operators are even considering jumping back into day spa offerings.

“Everyone is back talking about expansion. They got lean and mean last year, they cut out what wasn’t profitable,” Sleeper said. The moves included slashing nail and facial services. About 60 percent of small salon owners are expecting an increase of service sales; 75 percent of bigger salons expect a pickup in service sales, Sleeper added.

This story first appeared in the January 29, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Feedback from PBA’s Third Quarter 2009 Salon/Spa Performance Index show that salon-spa owners are more optimistic about stronger retail sales in the months ahead. Last year saw a 7 percent sales decline in manufacturer shipments to distributors but for the first half of 2010, product sales are expected to experience a zero to 2 percent increase, said Sleeper. About 61 percent of salon-spa owners said they expect to have higher retail sales in six months (compared with the same period in the previous year), up from 51 percent who reported similarly sentiments in the second quarter.

Salon-spa owners also remain optimistic about the direction of the overall economy. Sixty-eight percent of salon-spa owners said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while only five percent expect economic conditions to worsen in six months. This sentiment was generally on par with the previous two quarters.

Some challenges, according to the Index, include building and maintaining sales volume, the fluctuating economy and recruiting and retaining employees. Reuben Carranza, director of P&G Salon Professional North America, said 2010 will present a “tough environment” with a mix of “salons that are thriving and winning, and salons that are not going to make it.” Those who are winning possess several key characteristics, Carranza said. “In a very simple and straightforward way they communicate and reinforce the value they bring in terms of understanding hair and products. They have also found a way to create an experience and become a place of respite.”

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