NPD has announced that sales of prestige beauty products in U.S. department stores dipped 1% to $716.8 million for April 2012, the first decline since April 2010. Fragrance sales were flat at $162.4 million; skincare sales fell 2% to $265.3 million and makeup sales dipped 1% to $287.7 million.

Karen Grant, Vice President and Global Industry Analyst for The NPD Groups beauty sector, said the results gave NPD pause, but not alarm.

“We will be watching closely to see if these results are purely a result of the calendar shifts or if there is a real slow down in the momentum that has been driving beauty for more than 12 months. Given the strong growth rates of 2011, we anticipate some leveling in the increases for 2012, but we do not see reason to expect continued declines and believe the results for April are a momentary hiccup and all will be back on a positive track,” Karen said.

NPD added in a statement that it’s important to note that sales for April 2011 were the highest monthly sales growth following the 2009 recessionary period. Year-to-date (January-April) 2012 sales of total prestige beauty jumped 10% to $3 billion. By category, year-to-date dollar performance saw an 8% sales gain in both the fragrance and makeup categories, and a 13% sales increase in skincare.