Following a stellar 2011, prestige beauty sales show no signs of slowing down. The NPD Group reveals that total prestige beauty sales in U.S. department stores in January increased 14% to $554.2 million. In February, total prestige beauty grew 11% to $777.5 million.

NPD’s Karen Grant said the spike is due to “healthy sales from leading brands, established products and classics, as well as the added boost from strong new launches in 2011 which have not yet anniversaried.”

In February, skin care experienced the highest gain in dollars—among beauty’s larger categories—with a 15% gain; makeup increased 9% and fragrance increased 10%.

Year-to-date sales of total prestige beauty total $1.3 billion, an increase of 12% versus a year ago. Looking within individual categories’ year-to-date dollar performances, skin care increased 15%, makeup increased 9% and fragrance posted a 13% increase.

“Typically, prestige beauty performance outperforms overall retail sales,” said Grant. “This trend is further encouraged in the current environment where consumer sentiments appear to be improving and the overall retail environment is more positive.”