Tesco has made skincare a critical part of its non food strategy, says beauty team leader Kerry Robinson. "In the last 12 months we have taken the lead from Boots in toiletries and we're closing the gap in beauty overall," says Robinson. TNS figures show it is now the lead grocery retailer in skincare, but third in overall share behind Boots and Superdrug. Robinson says Tesco's strategy includes developing its own label lines, such as Skin Wisdom, a range of premium anti-ageing skincare created by skincare guru Bharti Vyas. Its most recent development is the extension of the Finest brand into five luxury body and bath products, all at £5. "We also want more exclusive trading agreements with brand owners, such as we've achieved with P&G for its Physique haircare range and the So Dam Tuff grooming range for men," says Robinson. Every Day Low Pricing has been the principle mechanism for weaning customers from other outlets and driving sales. Last year Tesco invested £7m in price reductions in beauty. "Since reducing prices in February, we've seen volume uplift in all skincare lines," says Robinson. Investments are going into improving the fixture through product display, ranging and lighting, and in customer service with the introduction of 28 beauty assistants. "We aim to refine and roll this service out," adds Robinson. Asda, ranked number five in skincare share according to TNS Superpanel, is investing in retailtainment' which toiletries marketing manager Tanya Reynolds says will include extensive instore sampling of brand and own label skincare. Asda's policy is to be the cheapest in skincare through Rollback on top selling brands such as Olay, Nivea and Vaseline, a typical example being its permanent reduction of the Olay Total Effects range to £13.47 from £18.50/£19.50 on the various lines. Robinson says this type of activity is achieving double digit growth year-on-year for Asda's skincare category. Its most successful Rollback has been on facial wipes, where brands were permanently reduced to £2.87 from around £4 last year. "Facial wipes is an area of massive growth fuelled by Rollback in this area," says Reynolds. Facial wipes and cloths saw 57% growth last year, says Lever Fabergé category strategy manager Niki Macartney. "Wipes are now the second largest sector in face care, cleansing being one of the big drivers in the whole skincare market," says Macartney. Key developments include Nivea Visage's Soft Facial Cleansing Wipes and L'Oréal's new Ideal Balance and Re Nourish cleansing wipes. LF went a step further last year with the launch of Dove Daily Hydrating Cleansing Cloths, a single use soap impregnated dry cloth activated into foam by water. "The cloths provide deeper cleansing, plus exfoliation, than wipes. It's a new sector we'll support with TV ads in the third quarter this year," says Macartney. Body cleansing has seen a lot of innovation, particularly in the merging of cleaning and moisturising to create two-in-one moisturising body washes that address consumers' need for convenience. Macartney says the dual-purpose sector is growing 12% and anticipates continued growth and product development. Lever Fabergé branched into this area in January with Dove Triple Moisturising Body Wash, with four new wash variants designed for indidivual needs at different times of the day making their debut this month. Other brands which have entered this sector include Nivea with a body scrub that exfoliates and moisturises. The growth of showering and moisturising products are part of the wider trend towards daily pampering, particularly among women who have more disposable income and are looking for affordable indulgent products. Macartney says Dove Body Silk alone grew 450% last year. Garnier's latest developments are Body Cocoon, a range of body moisturisers with fruit oils, and Body Tonic, which claims to tone as well as moisturise, while Nivea's developments include a moisturiser with light reflective pigments and glossing agents that bring a sheen to the body. Body moisturising has traditionally been the province of older women, who've used it to reduce skin ageing, but in the last two years younger women have been coming in. "They are becoming more aware through extensive media coverage of the benefits of body moisturising to prevent drying and wrinkling, and are starting to take anti-ageing measures much younger, " says Macartney. As the younger age group ­ which can be as young as 17 to 24 ­ is seen as representing a huge growth opportunity, all the major brands are developing lighter moisturising products. Lever Fabergé's latest is Dove Hydracare Body Lotion, launched this month. Alberto Culver's St Ives brand is targeting this market with its Energising range of moisturisers, cleansers, toners, wipes and scrubs, while for the 26-plus age group it has a range of wrinkle correctors and retinal creams. This summer it is launching new body lotions. Across the whole market, products containing ­ and emphasising ­ natural ingredients is a big growth area, demand being driven by consumer scepticism over the claims of more hi-tech products. Alberto Culver says its St Ives brand apricot scrubs launched last summer are on track to double the £3.9m scrubs category. Another vibrant area is teen skincare, a sector that's grown 12.6% to £74.2m [IR MAT Dec 2001], according to GlaxoSmithKline whose Oxy brand is joint number two. GSK category manager Greg Bertolotti says growth is due to teenagers being more aware of how they look and the choice of products available. Crookes Healthcare has just relaunched Clearasil with three new products.. Footcare is also benefiting from the upsurge in interest in bodycare in general. The market is worth £61m, with over 35% of the nation buying footcare products of some sort, according to J Pickles Healthcare which plans to launch a new Foot Vitality range this year. Scholl is aiming to develop a specific foot skincare category with its new Health & Beauty For Feet range comprising a rough skin remover, a cream refreshing powder, and two moisturisers. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}