Sales decline exceeds projections

While nobody thought 2013-14 cough-cold sales would reach as high in comparison to the year before, no one expected the season to come down as much as it did. “If you recall, last year cough-cold really raged from mid-December ... up until the beginning of February,” said Matthew Mannelly, CEO, president and director of Prestige Brands, in discussing the season with analysts. “If you look at retailers and other manufacturers, the season is not panning out. Candidly, I think the retailers are not reordering and are now gearing up for the [spring] allergy season,” he said at the close of the season.

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That may explain why many retailers are focusing on prevention. Both flu shots and products focused on preventive care are performing extremely well. Walgreens administered 6.7 million immunizations in its first quarter, up 34% as compared with the year-ago period. And Airborne generated $117.1 million across total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended May 18, according to IRI, benefiting from a lift of 16.5%.

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