OPTIMISM PREVAILS

NEW YORK — The beauty category’s vigorous growth rates over the past few years have retailers and manufacturers hoping the color will not fade.
“We’re blowing out of color, especially glitters, and we don’t see an end in sight,” said Ken Lane, buyer for Texas Drug Warehouse.
The consensus among retailers and beauty executives is that there has been a fundamental change in how women perceive color cosmetics.
“Women aren’t going to give up color. It has become an accessory,” said Karen Durham, divisional merchandise manager of cosmetics for Duane Reade.
Industry executives expect the desire for color will soon add life to sales of eye shadows, facial cosmetics and lip color.
However, Tanya Mandor, executive vice president at Revlon Cosmetics, said it would be a mistake to rely exclusively on consumers to drive further growth in cosmetics. “What’s driving growth is shade news and new technologies,” she said. “All of that news being brought to the marketplace has allowed it to grow. It will continue as long as we do our homework.”
To help insure that the variety women crave is front and center in drugstores and discounters, these firms are increasing the number of color promotions they produce every year and turning up the volume on the marketing support for trendy color palettes.
Also benefiting from the consumer’s renewed affair with cosmetics is Ulta3, the first U.S. beauty retailer to merge salons with selling space in a superstore format in 1990. Today, it is one of beauty’s leading merchants, with 68 units, including three in Las Vegas, its newest market.
In early August, the company opened a large store in Commack, N.Y., which is profiled on page 12. It will serve as a prototype for future expansion and for remodeling the chain’s other stores. The store was designed to encourage cross-shopping between the salon service area and the retail section.
Reports from around the country and around the world indicate that the face of beauty it always changing.
Attractive merchandising is one reason gift sets are strong year-round in Texas drugstores such as the 11,000-square-foot Post Oak Pharmacy, said Richard Spence, co-owner of the family-run pharmacy. The store gives gift sets prominent display on six 90-inch round tables and three of the tables have a theme and are individually lighted and enhanced by ceiling-to-floor banners, “just like the department stores,” said Spence.
Southeast-based discounters are increasing fragrance and bath gift set inventories for the holiday season by as much as 15 percent.
Jeff Fernandez, beauty aids buyer for the 250-unit Fred’s discount pharmacy chain based in Memphis, Tenn., said that he bought 19 percent more bath gift sets for this year’s holiday period than he did last year. As the chain’s holiday business continues to grow every year, said Fernandez, he foresees the day when bath gift sets could become a year-round business.
Drugstores and discounters on the West Coast are also predicting bath gift set sales will increase this holiday season. In anticipation of this possible windfall, many claim they will be increasing the space they dedicate to the category.
Looking to find growth overseas is Lord & Berry, based in White Plains, N.Y., which in March opened a European subsidiary in Milan. The company’s wide assortment of eye and lip colors are now available on a limited test basis in the U.K., Germany, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. The firm projects sales of $2 million for 1998.
The latest winter beauty looks and products on pages 18-25 reflect the festive atmosphere of the holiday season. Soft, shimmery colors light up eyes, cheeks and lips, while more daring sparkled nail enamels in a rainbow of shades provide a playful element. But the common theme is color, with strong showings from purple, burgundy and green.

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