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U.S. Prestige Beauty Sluggish but Stabilizing

November 17, 2008

According to new statistics culled by NPD Group, Inc., Port Washington, NY, the U.S. prestige beauty industry is showing signs of stabilizing after a slow start to the year. The total U.S. prestige beauty market (defined by NPD as products sold in U.S. department stores) for the first half of the year was $3.8 billion, down 1% compared to the same period in 2007, but the declines are not as strong as they were in the first quarter of this year. In fact, the second quarter of 2008 was the strongest quarter in the past three years, according to NPD.

Skin care proved to be the bright spot in the market, as it was the only category showing growth during the first half. Sales rose 2% to $1.2 billion. According to NPD, the first half of 2007 included an extra week in January causing sales to be slightly inflated that year. Without that additional week in 2007, prestige skin care sales would have shown an even healthier performance, the group said.

Premium-priced facial skin care products—those $70 and above—continued to outpace overall prestige skin care, growing 8% to $365.1 million in the first half of 2008, according to NPD.

Makeup sales dropped 2% to $1.6 billion, with sluggish performance in the first quarter. However, a strong April and May pushed second quarter sales up 3%, marking the strongest quarterly dollar performance over the past three years in the U.S.

Prestige fragrance sales fell 3% to $1 billion, according to NPD. More info: www.npd.com

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