BEAUTY CARE

Oral care gives retailers something to smile about

BY Antoinette Alexander

The economic turmoil has left retailers skittish and manufacturers cautious, but it also has opened the door for manufacturers to appeal to cash-strapped consumers by offering more affordable toothbrushes and convenient solutions. Such offerings will continue to appeal to consumers as the economic recovery continues and consumers remain watchful of their dollars.

According to data provided by Information Resources Inc., sales of mouthwash slipped 2.9% to $169.9 million for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 27 at food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), while sales of manual toothbrushes rose 6.7% to $118.9 million, sales of power toothbrushes declined 6.1% to $67.3 million and sales of toothpaste dropped 1.3% to $313.5 million.

While total sales of the power toothbrushes category slipped, according to IRI, Church & Dwight had “a huge success” in 2009 with its Sonic battery-powered Spinbrush.

“Highly successful, the fastest-growing brush in the category,” Church & Dwight chairman and CEO James Craigie told analysts about the Spinbrush during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 9.

“Great technology at a low cost had a great success in driving our Spinbrush business again. We were one of the only guys in the whole toothbrush category who were up last year in a down overall category,” Craigie added.

During the fourth quarter, Colgate saw its share of the manual toothbrush market reach a record 32.2% year to date, the company announced in late January. That’s up 5.2 share points versus a year ago, including the new Colgate Wisp mini-brush, whose market share reached 5% year to date and 6.3% for the fourth quarter. Its Colgate 360, ActiFlex, Colgate Max Fresh and Colgate Max White manual toothbrushes also contributed to the share gains.

For early 2010, Colgate developed the new Wisp Plus Whitening mini-brush.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble is launching in March its new Crest and Oral-B 3D White collection. In addition to whitestrips, toothpastes and rinse, the collection includes the new Pulsar Advanced Vivid Toothbrush with MicroPulse bristles that pivot and pulse, and the manual Advantage Vivid Toothbrush.

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Ulta to continue ‘successful game plan’ in 2010

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. Beauty retailer Ulta wrapped up a favorable fiscal 2009 and is upbeat about fiscal 2010 as it continues to expand its store base, reduce expenses and generate free cash flow.

“We are very pleased with our fourth-quarter performance. Our results surpassed the increased guidance we provided in January and included a 6.2% comparable-store sales increase, a 60 basis point improvement in merchandise margin and continued momentum of our cost management initiatives, all of which contributed to a 61.9% increase in diluted earnings per share — a strong finish to the year,” stated Lyn Kirby, Ulta’s president and CEO.

Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 16.1% to $396.4 millioQ4 n, compared with $341.4 million in the year-ago period.

Net income for the quarter rose 64.6% to $20.2 million from $12.3 million in the year-ago period.

Kirby noted that for fiscal 2009 it exceeded each of its three goals: growing profitable market share, achieving permanent cost efficiencies and delivering free cash flow. For the year, same-store sales rose 1.4% and store expansion continued with square footage increasing 12%. The company also achieved $19 million in permanent cost reductions and generated free cash flow of $104.7 million for fiscal 2009.

“As we begin fiscal 2010, we continue to build on our successful 2009 game plan. We are particularly optimistic about our opportunities for market share gains through comparable-store sales growth and new store expansion,” stated Kirby. “We expect to continue to generate free cash flow in 2010 while we increase our capital investment in support of our long term growth and believe that we will deliver another strong earnings performance in fiscal 2010.”

The company, which ended the quarter with 346 stores, plans to open roughly 46 new stores in fiscal 2010, remodel 13 locations and relocate six stores.

Additional plans for fiscal 2010 include:

  • Incur capital expenditures of about $100 million, compared with $68.1 million in fiscal 2009
  • Reduce inventory by about 5% on an average per store basis by year-end 2010
  • Permanently reduce expenses by $5 million
  • Generate free cash flow.

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Maybelline New York encourages customers to ‘Be Sensational and Win’

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Maybelline New York has partnered with CVS/pharmacy for the “Chicago” “Be Sensational and Win” contest.

Between March 15 and April 15 consumers can log onto the micro-site www.besensationalandwin.com for a chance to win a walk-on role in the Broadway production of “Chicago.” Contestants must perform their favorite song from Broadway musical “Chicago” and download the audition video for a chance to win. Live auditions will take place on March 22 at the Ambassador Theatre in New York, home to “Chicago.” There at the 42nd Street CVS/pharmacy, Maybelline New York makeup artists will be on hand to help contestants and consumers get Broadway-ready with mini-makeovers. They also can receive CVS/pharmacy coupons for discounts on Maybelline New York products.

The walk-on role will include lines depending on the winner’s ability, singing and dancing. The winner also receives a trip for two to New York City, a makeup kit from Maybelline New York a CVS/pharmacy gift card valued at $100 and more. Public online voting takes place from April 19 to May 7. Voters can also win prizes.

During the month of April, Maybelline New York will support the contest through in-store displays in more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy locations featuring Lash Stiletto mascara and new Color Sensational lip color.

“CVS/pharmacy is thrilled to be the retail partner for the Maybelline ‘Be Sensational and Win’ program,” stated Cheryl Mahoney, VP beauty at CVS/pharmacy. “We applaud Maybelline for giving beauty consumers a fresh and fun way to experience the Maybelline New York brand.”

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