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Q&A: Some Insight on cough drops

BY DSN STAFF

Despite the fact that H1N1 spiked awareness levels around cold and flu, overall illness rates remained relatively low as compared to seasons past. Drug Store News caught up with Mickael Tukdarian, president of Insight Pharmaceuticals, for some insight as to what happened this past season and how retailers may prepare for next season.

Drug Store News: What was the impact of last year’s cough-cold season on the sale of cough drops?

Mickael Tukdarian: The 2009-2010 season was an unusual one and did not follow any prior year patterns. This was, in great part, due to the H1N1 outbreak hitting in October 2009. There was a sales spike at that time, which is quite early for cough-cold. In recent years, the season has seen a small blip in December, with the heavy season actually hitting in late February or even early March. As the 2009-2010 season progressed, there was no second H1N1 breakout, which both manufacturers and retailers were expecting and planning for in December and January. Additionally, there was almost no regular cough-cold season during [the first quarter].

As far as the impact on Sucrets, timely promotional and advertising efforts helped the cough-cold sell through and did not reflect the terrible industry season. IRI data for the 2009-2010 season showed the total cough-cold drop category flat versus last year. In the sore throat lozenge subcategory, Sucrets outpaced the category average.

DSN: What should retailers expect for the coming season? How might they best prepare for the 2010-2011 cough-cold season?

Tukdarian: It appears that we are going to return to the normal season, beginning in November/December and peaking in February. Past experience has shown that as cold and flu incidences rise in a specific area, the shelf takeaway accelerates at a pace that makes it a challenge to maintain shelf inventory levels. Having safety stock of cough-cold products at distribution centers during this seasonal ramp up is critical.

DSN: What’s new with Sucrets?

Tukdarian: Along with all of our trade efforts, we are going to drive more consumer advertising to promote awareness and boost sales. We are really excited about our new Sucrets’ television campaign launching during the 2010-2011 cough-cold season. This new broadcast campaign is a big new step forward for Sucrets, and we can’t wait to share the details with our trade partners. The campaign will coincide with our other programs, such as seasonal [free-standing inserts] and product bonus packs.

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NACDS puts a new spin on Meet the Market

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO This year the National Association of Chain Drug Stores introduced two new features to its Meet the Market format. First, NACDS hosted a Meet the Market Presentation Template webinar twice prior to Meet the Market, in which NACDS introduced a meeting template that succinctly captured all of the information retailers typically use to evaluate a new product or company.

Also new to Meet the Market were the booths of 10 service companies — trade media and professional education, merchandising consultants and marketing/media information companies — which afforded an opportunity for new and smaller suppliers to meet with these organizations.

“New companies have a need not only to meet with retailers, obviously, they have a need for their business,” noted Jim Whitman, NACDS SVP meetings and conferences. Another ongoing improvement is the productivity within each meeting, Whitman added. “We keep refining the match, the appointments,” he said.

This year, the Meet the Market format — in which smaller and new suppliers have 10-minute meetings with their category buyers — represented more than 8,000 face-to-face pre-arranged appointments.

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Retail clinic growth slowing down? Not a chance

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Target is looking to expand its retail-based clinic business this year is yet one more indicator that reports of the demise of retail clinic growth have been greatly exaggerated.

(THE NEWS: Target to expand its retail clinic presence. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, Target, which opened its first clinic in 2006, is looking to open up eight new locations this September. It already operates 28 locations in Minnesota and Maryland.

It wasn’t so long ago — April to be exact — that CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic indicated that it could double its current number of clinics in five years.

Why the growth? Well, aside from the aging population and a shortage of primary care physicians, a major catalyst is healthcare reform, which will mean that 32 million people who currently are uninsured will have healthcare coverage. With emergency rooms already overflowing, and primary care physicians already over-extended, having a retail clinic nearby where patients can receive convenient, quality and affordable health care will only become increasingly important.

Meanwhile, RediClinic, which has 22 clinics in H-E-B stores in Houston and Austin, Texas, is cranking up its marketing efforts and has tapped former Duane Reade executive Jeff Thompson as VP marketing. Thompson will be responsible for RediClinic’s consumer and partner marketing activities, including developing and implementing strategic customer acquisition/retention programs, new product delivery and brand strategy.

Thompson most recently served as VP marketing for Duane Reade.

Clearly, there continues to be significant growth opportunities for clinics — both in terms of the number of clinic locations and the scope of services offered within the clinics. As mentioned earlier, there are 32 million reasons why the growth will be quite dramatic.

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