US – road to recovery

Responding to an upturn in the US economy, department stores and drug stores are improving their beauty product offering and retail spaces, while sectors performing strongly include lip and eye colour, hair care, naturals, fragrance and skin care

Department stores are broadening their product offer and updating retail areas with considerable success


Despite recent economic jitters and the debt crisis, most American retailers and manufacturers think the economy is improving and that sales are returning, albeit slowly. Faye Brookman reports

According to beauty market research conducted by The NPD Group total prestige beauty sales reached $8.4bn in 2010, a 4% rise compared to $8.19bn in 2009. Mass market sales, according to Symphony/IRI group, reached $3.6bn excluding Wal-Mart and now including skin care. That was over a 3% increase. It was the first time in a few years where both prestige and mass had increases, and data from NPD shows things keep looking up. Prestige sales are up 5% for the first quarter of 2011.

“American women have hit the back of the vanities and are ready to replenish,” says Wendy Liebmann, founder of WSL Strategic Retail in New York.

But as they return, many are going back to the value stores they fled to in tough times. For department store customers, that might mean sticking with drug chains. Those who were mass market consumers are going further down the food chain to dollar stores.

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