Drug stores continue to offer more fresh grocery items. “Fresh fruit and vegetables are top grocery categories. There’s high demand for the products, and the size of the market is huge. So it makes sense that the drug channel is going after that business,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and VP of the NPD Group.
Retailers, expecting thrifty behavior from consumers, are starting the back-to-school season with early promotions. “Retailers are already running door-buster promotions,” said Perry Smith, an analyst with the NPD Group.
Those within the mass-market beauty industry are wise not to rest on their laurels, as research indicates that sales of prestige makeup and skin care in U.S. department stores surpassed pre-recession volume in the first half of 2011, according to market research company the NPD Group.
Back-to-college merchandise is big business. “College students are starting to represent the most important segment of the back-to-school market,” said Perry James, an analyst with the NPD Group. The segment has grown, Perry said, since the weak job market has caused many college seniors to extend their education through graduate school.
After years of declines, U.S. prestige beauty experienced a boost in 2010, with skin care proving yet again to be the strongest performer, according to beauty market research conducted by the NPD Group.
Sales of games and puzzles dipped 6% last year to $1.24 billion, according to the NPD Group, but Adrienne Appell, a spokeswoman for the Toy Manufacturers Association, said that as a category, games have held steady over the past few years.