Bigger push into men's grooming may mean more dollars for retailers

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Does Family Dollar's expansion of health and beauty items, which contributed to its overall inventory growth during the third quarter, and Ulta's plan to create men's grooming boutiques within most of its nearly 400 stores mean a new competitive threat for drug stores?

(THE NEWS: Inventories swell as Family Dollar boosts beauty. For the full story, click here.)

(THE NEWS: Report: Ulta seeks to bring men to stores with in-store boutiques. For the full story, click here.)

Family Dollar reported that a 25% boost in its health and beauty care product assortment at 5,000-of-its-6,900 stores helped fuel overall inventory growth and bolstered in-store traffic. A glimpse at Family Dollar's website also illustrates the retailer's effort to promote beauty. The site highlights such items as N.Y.C. New York Color makeup, CoverGirl Clean makeup, Pantene shampoo and conditioner, and Luster's Pink relaxer kit and glosser.

Meanwhile, Ulta's president and CEO Chuck Rubin told attendees of the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit that it will carve out dedicated space — likely near the front of the store — for men's grooming products. Yes, the beauty retailer already sells such products, but pulling these items together into one area and placing them near the front of the store clearly represents an opportunity for Ulta to better reach him. Rubin acknowledged that the bulk of the items probably will still be purchased by a woman for the man in her life, but it isn't unrealistic to think that the initiative is bound to increase the number of men who shop the store.

And Ulta isn't alone in its efforts. Procter & Gamble teamed up with retailer H-E-B to implement the Men's Zone in select store locations. The store-within-a-store is specially tailored to meet his grooming needs, bringing together more than 530 personal care products for men. To further appeal to him, the Men's Zone has touchscreens so he can get grooming tips and discover new products and even has flat-screen TVs that can show sporting events or other information.

When looking at the numbers, it is evident why such retailers as Ulta and H-E-B are making a greater push into men's grooming. According to a Packaged Facts' report, "Men's Grooming Products: A Global Analysis," male-specific body wash, deodorant, hair gel, shaving cream, razors and moisturizers constitute one of those markets that now outpaces the overall beauty/grooming retail markets in many countries of the world. Valued at $19.7 billion worldwide in 2009, male-specific products are expected to mushroom to $28 billion by 2014.

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