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Report: Bartell brings ‘next generation’ store concept to Edmonds, Wash.

BY Allison Cerra

SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs has brought the chain’s latest store concept to its Edmonds, Wash., location, according to local reports.

The store, located at 23028 100th Ave. W. in Edmonds, will tout such "next generation" features as more product offerings, bright new displays, décor accents and other improvements designed to enhance the total shopping experience. The store remodel was celebrated on Saturday.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Bartell last year introduced a next generation remodel of an existing store in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood. The company developed the new concept in conjunction with Hartmann Group, a consumer consulting firm based in Bellevue, Wash.

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Mintel: American women most likely to use anti-aging face creams

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — American women lead the way in anti-aging facial skin care usage when compared with their counterparts in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, according to new research from Mintel.

The $2.3 billion (in 2011) U.S. anti-aging skin care market has experienced substantial growth in the past five years, as women continue to clamor for the next advancement to stave off the signs of aging.

While the desire to find the fountain of youth is a global concern, recent Mintel research found that American women lead the way in anti-aging facial skin care usage when compared with their counterparts in Germany, France and the U.K., while the West (United States, U.K. and France) launched the most anti-aging skin care products between 2009 and 2011 in comparison with Japan and China. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. women have used anti-aging creams and serums for the face, compared with 23% of U.K. women, 24% of the female population in France, 25% of women in Germany and 26% of women in Spain, according to Mintel.

But it’s not all creams and serums in the anti-aging fight. Devices could become the weapons of choice in the battle against fine lines and wrinkles. While usage is modest (just 4% of U.S. women have used an anti-aging device), 35% of American women report that while they haven’t used an at-home anti-aging device, they would be open to trying one. Furthermore, women seem more interested in at-home treatments than visiting a professional. Forty percent of U.S. women have used or would be interested in using an at-home treatment, compared to 32% who have visited/would visit a professional for non-invasive anti-aging treatments.

Meanwhile, product launch activity seems to be the greatest in the West. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, 46% of total skin care product launches in the U.K. carried an anti-aging claim from 2009 to 2011. France and the United States were only slightly higher, with 47% of skin care launches touting the anti-aging claim. China and Japan followed with much lower numbers — 27% and 19%, respectively.

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Is an ounce of prevention taking a pound of cure out of the pharmacy?

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — More people had gotten their influenza vaccine by November 2011 than they had by November 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and last year’s triumvirate virus was a good match for the predominant flu strains in circulation. All of this leads into the lowest flu season on record, and that begs the question: As more retailers continue to build out their vaccination programs, particularly using the influenza vaccine as a potential gateway to its more comprehensive vaccine offerings, are they sacrificing their cough-cold sales to make that happen?

(THE NEWS: CDC: 2011-2012 influenza season lowest on record. For the full story, click here.)

The answer, in fact, might be yes. "I do think, in fact, that as vaccine coverage increases, we ought to see less disease in the United States," said Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology prevention branch at the CDC’s Influenza Division during a wrap-up with reporters on the 2011-2012 season. "So I think although this season has been mild and the onset has been late and that can’t be attributed solely to vaccine practices, I do think increasing vaccine coverage in the United States will certainly — and probably is certainly — playing a role in less transmission and less disease this year," he said. "Second, what we know, and as I said, the vaccine coverage rates continue to trend upward. That should lead to less transmission over time and less severe disease over time, especially if high-risk people continue to get vaccinated in higher numbers."

The reality is a little more convoluted, of course. Even as flu vaccines expand, those vaccines have no impact on rhinoviruses, which is the cause behind the common cold. And that means, theoretically at least, you can have a low incidence of flu in a season and yet still a high incidence of the common cold.

And even coming out of the lowest flu season on record, trailing 52-week sales of cough-cold remedies were still up in food, drug and mass (without Walmart) some 5% across both liquid and tablet remedies. In liquids, Procter & Gamble’s Vicks Nyquil was up 3.9% to $111.6 million for the 52 weeks ended April 15, while Reckitt Benkiser, which launched Mucinex Fast Max in the past year, realized sales increases of 330.9% to $53.6 million across its Mucinex liquid offerings (data courtesy SymphonyIRI Group).

Those cough-cold remedies also include allergy, more of a year-round ailment, as evidenced by the strong performance of the allergy remedy Allegra that predominated cough-cold tablet sales — up 506.9% to $182.6 million.

But the question remains: Does a stronger position in influenza vaccine at retail mean taking a hit in both pharmaceutical (antibiotics for upper respiratory bacterial infections and antivirals for the flu) and nonprescription upper respiratory remedies? Don’t get us wrong: Flu shots, and vaccinations in general, are important to community pharmacy, both in terms of the public health role and in terms of generating new sources of revenue for pharmacy beyond dispensing. But the OTC sales related to cough-cold remedies is an important part community pharmacy’s present and future, too. Is that ounce of prevention taking a pound of cure out of the pharmacy?

What do you think? Is there some risk in shifting from a sick care to a well care model? Will that change the merchandise mix someday? Post your comments below.

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