Byline: Jenny B. Fine

NEW YORK — Perhaps there won’t be any magic potion, but there’s enough brewing in the skin care business to inspire projections of high single-digit sales gains for next spring.
Despite the absence of new technological innovations — such as alpha-hydroxy acids or antioxidants — most vendors are preparing a slew of introductions to fill in gaps in their treatment lineups. As the backbone of the department store beauty business, skin care provides a stability that retailers have grown to depend upon, particularly in comparison with the quicksilver nature of the fragrance business.
“I think skin care will grow for spring, but I don’t think it will be explosive,” said Barbara Zinn Moore, senior vice president for cosmetics and fragrances at Macy’s East. “There are some strong launches that should help round out treatment regimes in different lines, and overall, it looks like a good lineup,” she added.
Moore is expecting high-single-digit growth, as is John Pollack, vice president and general merchandise manager of Belk’s.
“There seems to be a lot of consumer interest in simplicity and in effective skin care,” he said. “Consumers are looking for products that work, but they’re not giving companies a lot of time to prove it. We’re seeing some strong initiatives that we think could be big items.”
Major skin care trends for next spring include:
Focus on Franchises: Elizabeth Arden, Lancome and Christian Dior have adopted the time-tested strategy of adding new products to their strongest-performing skin care franchises. Arden will introduce a new Ceramides moisturizer, Lancome is launching a second version of its Renergie antiwrinkle cream and Dior plans to build upon the success of its 1996 entry Capture Rides.
Moisture March: While the high tech products of the Nineties still have their place, Estee Lauder, La Prairie and Clinique will introduce new moisturizers to their lineups.
“In the Eighties and Nineties, women were looking first for nourishing products, then quick-fix products, then repair items and protective products,” said Lynn Florio, president of La Prairie. “Now, we’ve gone full circle, because we’re all worried about moisture in our skin again.”
Body Heat: “We continue to look for categories to be further developed, and we think body care is an area ripe for development,” said Joseph Horowitz, president of Clarins. Indeed, vendors including Chanel and Lauder seem to agree with him. All three firms will try to kick-start the category this spring, with new introductions in an area that hasn’t seen much excitement since the advent of anticellulite products.
Let the Sun Shine: An offshoot of the body category, the sun care category is considered another slow starter with department store potential. Clinique and Dior, among others, will be adding to their offerings, with self-tanning as well as protective products next spring.
Elizabeth Arden will continue to try to strengthen its core business while attracting younger users with its spring skin care launches. The firm hopes the combination will boost its skin care business 10 to 15 percent.
First up will be the February introduction of a two-in-one cleanser and a moisturizer that will be marketed as companion products to Arden’s Illuminating Complex, which launched in September. All three products will be grouped under a new brand name, which has not yet been determined, according to Victoria Spellman, vice president of marketing.
As with Arden’s fall fragrance entry, 5th Avenue, and its revamped color cosmetics line, the products have been designed to appeal to consumers in their 30s and 40s, slightly younger than Arden’s current base of women in their 40s, 50s and above.
“The primary concern of women in their 30s and 40s isn’t antiaging, but rather how to keep their skin healthy,” said Spellman. “Illuminating Complex is more of a specialty product designed for those women, and we wanted to introduce some more basic products for that segment.”
Also on line for Arden will be the April introduction of the seventh item in its Ceramide skin care range. The still-to-be-named product — which will be aimed at the firm’s core market — will be marketed as a firming product and combines Arden’s ceramide technology with retinals, which executives said helps oxygenate the cells that produce collagen and elastin.
After seeing a 14 percent increase in its treatment business following the introduction of Capture Rides in February, Christian Dior will add two more products under that banner this spring — Capture Rides Yeux wrinkle cream for eyes and Capture Rides Wrinkle Lotion.
The eye cream, which will retail for $45 for a 0.5-oz. jar, and the lotion, $45 for a 1-oz. bottle, will arrive on counters Feb. 23. As it did with the original product, Dior will support the launch with print advertising and a gift-with-purchase containing companion skin care products.
“This gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to additional products to complete the regimen,” said Caroline Geerlings, senior vice president of marketing. “These products are the driving force of our business.”
In April, Dior will introduce Dior Bronze, its first self-tanning line. It consists of one product for the face, priced at $22.50 for 1.7-oz., and two body items — one for fair-to-medium skin and one for darker — retailing for $25 for each 4.2-oz. bottle. The products are tinted, enabling users to see what parts of the body have been covered during application.
Meanwhile, Lancome will introduce a companion product for its Renergie antiwrinkle cream. In January, the company will launch an oil-free lotion version targeting women with oily skin. It will cost $54 for a 1.7-oz. bottle.
To promote the launch, print ads for both products will break in January magazines, and packette samples will be distributed at department store counters and through mailers.
“This is our major spring focus. We’re using this launch to repromote the entire Renergie premise,” said Lucy Tart, assistant vice president of treatment marketing.
La Prairie will focus its first-half efforts on the launch of Cellular Time Release Moisturizer, scheduled to hit counters in February. The item, which will retail for $125, delivers cumulative moisture to the skin, according to La Prairie’s Florio.
Clinique’s main effort for spring will center on its Exceptionally Soothing Cream and Lotion for Upset Skin, the first prestige skin care products to contain the over-the-counter ingredient hydrocortisone. Formulated to address irritated skin, the products will each retail for $30 when they reach stores in mid-February.
New sun care offerings from Clinique will also hit counters, with Bronzewear Tinted Self-Tanner, priced at $14.50 for 1.7-oz., slated for an April release, and Face Zone Sun Block SPF 30, $13.50 for 1.7-oz., set for a May launch.
Like the Dior product, Clinique’s self-tanner is tinted.
“We have a strong protection business, but we see a major opportunity in self-tanning,” said Sandy Cataldo, vice president of marketing, who said the firm is predicting a 6 percent increase in sun care sales.
Estee Lauder is also set to launch a new moisturizer — or nourisher, as the company calls it — in February. Called Nutritious Bio-Protein Moisture Complex, the product will be on counter in February with a suggested price of $45 for a 1.7-oz. jar.
Lauder will also expand on its three-item Resilience facial skin care line, by introducing Resilience Body Elastin Refirming Lotion on Dec. 26, to sell for $25 for a 6.7-oz. tube. “Our body business has not been a big business up to this point, but in the future, we will have a few selected products that will do a significant part of the business,” said Dianne Osborne, vice president of skin care marketing for Estee Lauder USA and Canada. “We are introducing specialty repair-type products, rather than commodity-type products like bath and shower gels.”
Clarins intends to make the body its sole focus next spring, starting with the April introduction of Body Shaping Cream, which is purported to firm and tighten the “spongy” appearance of skin.
The firm will also implement promotions centered on its 20 stockkeeping-unit body care line, such as offering a 1.7-oz. Body Lift, its anticellulite product, free with any body treatment purchase.
Chanel’s major spring skin care initiative will focus on its existing facial products, as well as a new body moisturizer.
New ad campaigns for Chanel’s Day Lift and Night Lift and for Lift Serum Extreme, the top-performing product in Chanel’s treatment lineup, will begin running in February and May, respectively, and Chanel will continue sampling its entire range, reported Karen Flinn, vice president of marketing and training for Chanel Beaute.
According to Flinn, the firm is expecting double-digit increases as a result of the renewed media blitz.
In April, the company will introduce Hydra-Serum Corps, which executives billed as a vitamin-enriched body moisturizer. It is priced at $42 for a 6.8-oz. bottle.
“Our focus is really on getting back to the basics and supporting the three key franchises that have been the mainstay of the business,” said Flinn, “but we also see a lot of growth in the body and sun care categories.”
Like Chanel, some companies — including Prescriptives, Guerlain and Givenchy — aren’t jumping on the launch wagon for the first half of 1997, choosing instead to focus most of their efforts on existing products in their ranges.

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