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Diet aids are at a loss

BY Michael Johnsen

Annual diet aid sales are down more than 15% across the category, and even as diet aid sales spike in the first few weeks of January with 2012 New Year’s resolutions, it doesn’t look like that sales decline will reverse itself in the short term.

But sales of diet aids are historically a cyclical business, which means the “next big trend” has got to be just around the corner.

The leading diet aid, GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli, has been on the sales block for the past year, and the latest trend of celebrity-driven diet aids seems to have run its course — the Kardashian-sponsored QuickTrim is now the 19th best-selling diet aid, with annual sales of $2.8 million and declining at 33.4%, according to SymphonyIRI Group for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart).

Earlier this year, trainer Bob Harper, a popular weight-loss motivator on NBC’s reality series “Biggest Loser,” was featured on a diet aid by Iovate Health Sciences that will go head-to-head against former “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels. The Jillian Michaels brand generated $11.2 million for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4, down 52.2%.

The “Biggest Loser” program started its 12th season in September — since its debut in 2004, the reality TV show has averaged well more than 8 million viewers each airing. However, since Russian tennis phenom Anna Kournikova has signed on as the latest “Biggest Loser” trainer, the most recent ratings report has less than 6.2 million viewers taking in the feel-good weight-loss reality show.

Michaels, meanwhile, has departed “Biggest Loser” to join CBS’ “The Doctors,” which will expose her “brand” to a whole new set of viewers with the move from a prime-time telecast to a daytime telecast. That may breathe new life into her diet aid brand in 2012.

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Tops reopens flood-damaged store in Owego, N.Y.

BY Alaric DeArment

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets reopened a flood-damaged store in Owego, N.Y., on Sunday, the supermarket chain said.

Tops announced last week that it would open the store, which it had to close due to "significant" flood damage from Tropical Storm Lee, which caused severe flooding in the city.

"The work to be done to repair the store was substantial, but the decision to re-open the Owego store was an easy one," Tops president and CEO Frank Curci said. "We felt that it was important to get up and running as soon as possible so we could help our neighbors rebuild and regain what they lost."

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Kimberly-Clark reports Q3

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark set an all-time record high in net sales during its third quarter.

For the period ended Sept. 30, K-C said third-quarter net sales rose 8% to $5.4 billion. Diluted net income per share decreased, however, from $1.14 in third quarter 2010 to $1.09.

Third-quarter sales of K-C’s personal care segment rose 9% to $2.4 billion. For the North America market, sales dropped 1%. The company said overall sales volumes were even with the year-ago period, but noted growth in adult care, baby wipes and feminine care, thanks to growth from the introduction of Poise hourglass shape pads, as well as continued momentum of U by Kotex. Infant care volumes fell low-single digits and child care volumes fell at a double-digit rate, despite the introduction of Huggies Little Movers slip-on diapers.

K-C’s consumer tissue segment increased 4% to $1.7 billion, while North American sales dropped by 1%, due to lower sales in bathroom and facial tissues. By product category, bathroom tissue volumes fell double-digits and Kleenex facial tissue volumes were off high single-digits. Paper towel volumes, however, rose at a double-digit rate and benefited from improved distribution levels and promotion activity, K-C said.

"While we are not on track with all of our goals this year, I’m encouraged that execution of our Global Business Plan strategies enabled us to deliver 4% growth in organic sales and double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share in the third quarter," K-C chairman and CEO Thomas Falk said. "Our focus on targeted growth initiatives, revenue realization and cost reduction allowed us to overcome significant input cost inflation and softer-than-expected demand in portions of the developed markets. Our market positions remain solid overall and our innovation and marketing programs are on track."

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