THE STAR REPORT

NEW YORK — With $6.5 billion in sales on the line, the prestige beauty business in the U.S. had a modestly successful year during 1999, according to figures from NPD BeautyTrends. Overall growth for the market stood at 3 percent.
“Three percent growth is respectable, considering the rapid industry changes and challenges faced by the department store market,” said Timra Carlson, BeautyTrends vice president. The prestige skin care category performed the best, increasing by 5 percent in dollar sales. Color cosmetics sales were also modest, growing by 3 percent. Fragrances, which account for the largest portion of department store beauty sales, showed the slowest growth at plus 2 percent.
Overall, the women’s fragrance market was sluggish, according to BeautyTrends. Clinique’s Happy ended the year as the bestseller. But Romance by Ralph Lauren, which was launched in late 1998, showed the sharpest growth this year, passing a number of entrenched rivals to end up ranking fourth.
Men’s fragrances grew much faster than the women’s market. Aqua Di Gio Pour Homme posted the most impressive growth of the top 10, becoming the third best-selling men’s fragrance. New launch Emporio Armani for Him made it into the top 10, grabbing 3 percent of dollar sales.
The top five color cosmetics brands held their identical rankings from the end of 1998. Of the top five, Lancome and Chanel were the only brands to exhibit growth, BeautyTrends said in a statement, adding that “each best-selling color cosmetics item carries the Clinique, Lancome or Estee Lauder name, with one exception — MAC Cosmetics lipstick.” MAC ranked sixth in the color market at the end of last year. “This brand’s success has inspired many niche makeup-artist brands, which have collectively tripled in share since 1997,” according to BeautyTrends.
The greatest brand movement and best performance was found in the prestige skin care category. Origins, which excelled in the red-hot body care segment, bypassed Elizabeth Arden and climbed into the top five.
Looking at the overall skin care market, acne treatment, oil/shine control, facial moisturizers and eye products were among the sub-segments that showed rapid growth, BeautyTrends stated, adding that “the introduction of Lancome’s new Aromatonic line brought aromatherapy sales to new heights.”