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Q&A: Mass challenges

BY Michael Johnsen

Drug Store News recently spoke with Greenwood Group president Pat O’Leary about the challenges small- and mid-tier companies face in the mass market.


DSN: Has the barrier to entry into mass gotten higher for smaller companies?


Pat O’Leary: It’s a function of retailer expectations as much as anything. As they’ve become more sophisticated and the need to make a profit has become a [priority over] a more finite period of time, the manufacturers are challenged to meet those expectations. They’re not unrealistic, … [but] you have to be prepared.


DSN: How do you overcome those barriers? 


O’Leary: Really understand who your consumer is. Really understand how the category is going to impact you and how you’re going to impact the category. … Retailers are looking for new products that are going to bring incremental profit.


DSN: What are some of the long-term success strategies?


O’Leary: The four Ps [pricing, product, placement and promotion]. … Get the right fit with the right retailer — you may not have to be everywhere overnight.

For the full audio Q&A, click here.

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Getting gummy

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Gummy vitamins are not just for kids anymore. With baby boomers entering their golden years, it won’t be pill phobia that will drive 
supplement-seeking seniors in search of gummy vites as much as it may be pill fatigue. For the 52 weeks ended April 15 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), SymphonyIRI Group tracked $3.6 billion in vitamin sales, up 5.2%. So the timing is just right for Pharmavite and its launch of 
Nature Made Adult Gummies, which includes a B-complex, calcium, Co-Q10, multi­-
vitamin and vitamins C and D3 offerings.

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Cough-cold season 
sure to be a volatile one

BY Michael Johnsen

While no one can predict illness rates for the upcoming 2012-2013 cough, cold and flu season — unless maybe you’re reading out of the book of Nostradamus — one thing you can bank on is this: It’s going to be one volatile season.


That volatility will be borne out of quite a bit of shelf shuffling as the mega-brand Tylenol Cold makes its way back to store shelves with what many anticipate will be a very robust advertising budget. And then there’s the impact of the not-quite-recalls of Novartis’ Theraflu and Triaminic brands, which continue to resonate across supply lines. Production through Novartis’ Nebraska plant resumed in May but isn’t expected to reach full production capacity until the beginning of 2013, the company recently told analysts. Novartis also reported it will be weeding out low-performing OTC SKUs, so when Theraflu does return to full production, there will be fewer facings.


That will leave a big question mark for many buyers — do they clear their shelves for the return of Tylenol et al or do they hold back some facings for the higher-margin stopgaps that the private label and niche manufacturers had been supplying through the slow 2011-2012 season? And given that low incidence of illness this past season — Perrigo projected a normal season would have generated $25 million in additional production of store-brand cough-and-cold remedies — how do you justify those decisions by the numbers?


According to many suppliers across the cough-cold space, retailers will be building up their cough-cold inventories heading into September. The just-in-time inventory replenishment systems used today had prevented any kind of cough-cold product backload because of the slow season that just passed. And with many retail fiscal year-ends coming in the middle of cough-cold season, quite a few replenishment buys were reserved until the ensuing year’s fiscal budgets were available.

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