The major multiples are working hard to develop the market, not only with brands and innovative own label npd but also with merchandising. Asda health and beauty buyer Phil Hancock says the chain overtrades the market in male grooming and puts this down to the fact that availability is a key driver for its stores, meaning men can find what they want quickly. "We also merchandise how our male shoppers see the fixture ­ not by brand but by function, such as shave gels or shower gels. This means we can get people the products they want as fast as they want them. "Although there are still a lot of women purchasing for men, increasingly they are being asked to buy specific brands. This is down to men being more educated about what they want and like rather than just being generalists. Hancock says in the shaving market, King of Shaves is getting a lot of interest. This niche brand originally got a lot of press in men's magazines. While the men's magazines are now in decline, King of Shaves is still doing well. "It brings two things in particular to the market," says Hancock. "It has an alternative look and can be easily spotted on the shelf, plus it is a shaving oil." Skincare and moisturisers are showing "dramatic" growth at Asda. "This year we are selling 300% more skin care than we did last year, but I'm not sure how many men would admit to this." But blokes aren't shy about some things. Hancock says the manicure bar at the chain's new Eastlands store in Manchester is increasingly seeing male customers who are not embarrassed about sitting in full view of other shoppers while having a manicure. Sainsbury has toyed with different concepts to entice shoppers including creating a male oasis with men's magazines next to the toiletries. It sees huge potential for the category. Men's toiletries buyer James Newman says: "We're seeing excellent growth with double digit growth in the calendar year to date. Overall growth, though, is lower due to a slight decline in razor and blades performance." He agrees increases are coming from emerging, fledgling markets such as skincare. The traditional big brands such as Gillette and Lynx are also back in growth but the category is affected by some price deflation with volume outstripping value. Sainsbury is now launching a range of own label lines under its Perform and Protect range. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}