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Report: Most back-to-school shopping set to be in store

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

PHILADELPHIA — Parents may be using mobile to look for deals this back-to-school season, but most purchases are happening in-store.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of shoppers will make their back-to-school purchases in-store vs. 32% who would prefer to shop only online, according to the “2017 Back-to-School Sales Report,” from ChargeItSpot.

When it comes to finding back-to-school deals, 30% of shoppers planned to use mobile coupon apps as their main source for sales promotions. Others planned to use online deal sites (19%), newspapers/magazines (12%), retail newsletters/catalogs (9%), social media (8%), and radio/TV (5%).

“Back-to-school shopping is one of the busiest shopping seasons for retailers,” said Douglas Baldasare, CEO and founder of ChargeItSpot. “With school supplies becoming more expensive and more high-tech, our findings show that parents are serious about finding the best deals.”

When asked how much they would likely spend on back-to-school shopping, most parents planned to spend between $100 and $300 and under $100 (both categories tied at 30%); 19% planned to spend between $300 and $500, 11% would spend between $500 and $700, only 6% planned to spend more than $1,000, and 5% planned to spend between $700 and $1,000.

Meanwhile, 42% said they would be shopping for one student, 30% said two students, 15% were shopping for three students, and 13% would shop for four or more students, data revealed.

Clothing will garner the most sales, with 58% of parents will be spending most of their money on apparel during back-to-school shopping this year. Only 16% said they would spend the most on traditional school supplies (pens, pencils, etc.), 16% will buy shoes.

Meanwhile, 10% are purchasing electronics — and merchandise runs the gamut. For example, 32% are in the market for computers/laptops, 15% are eyeing tablets, 13% will buy smartphones, 10% need calculators, and 7% will spend on accessories. One-fourth (25%) will not make any electronics purchases.

Hoping to get a jump on the deals — and crowds —28% planned to start shopping one month before school starts. Others started earlier in the summer (27%), and 24% would begin a few weeks before school starts. Another 24% would wait until a week before school starts (24%), and 9% will wait until after school starts.

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Wegmans to open new store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans Food Markets is expanding its footprint with a new concept.

In a first for the 101-year-old grocer, Wegmans said it will open a two-level store, at Natick Mall, Natick, Mass., with direct access to the shopping center. The 134,000-sq.-ft. store will be located in a building that formerly housed one of the mall's anchors, J.C. Penney. 

The new Wegmans, scheduled to open in spring 2018, will devote 12,500 sq. ft. on the second floor to two restaurant concepts. The grocer is seeking a complementary tenant for the 45,000-sq.-ft. third floor of the building.

The family-owned Wegmans operates 93-supermarkets across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The Natick location will be Wegman's sixth location in Massachusetts. It is scheduled to open a store in Medford, Mass., at the beginning of November.

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Health-and-wellness assortment for new, expecting moms grows

BY Michael Johnsen

In the healthcare space, it’s a long-held tenet that female heads of household, aka moms, are the primary purchasers of the OTC remedies and balms that cure ailments. So, why not capture her loyalty from the beginning — or even before the beginning?

One of the category opportunities that Drug Store News has seen emerge in the past year is fertility, with products that support the health and wellness of mom — before and during her pregnancy. For first-time mothers, this can be a period of intense research and exploration around which products are available to help her along her journey. For suppliers and retailers, it’s an opportunity to lock in what could become a very loyal consumer.

“Capturing a new mom is extremely valuable, as it gives you the opportunity to provide the entire household with products if the mom trusts your brand,” said Dan Aziz, president of Luna Pharmaceuticals. “New moms are open to trying new brands and switching brand loyalty. For us, we have the opportunity to capture this customer for a 24-month period (before, during and after pregnancy) and have her buy several of our products in tandem, every month. [That creates] multiple trips to stores and larger baskets — which our retailers love.”

The need for proper nutrition and supplementation is profound. According to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, many healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity. Yet fewer than 10% of the women who participated in the study met the dietary guideline for the whole grains, fatty acids, sodium or empty calories categories.

According to Aziz, the average U.S. family spends roughly $15,000 from trying to conceive to the first year of an infant’s life. With 4.5 million pregnancies each year, that makes for a market potential of more than $52 billion.

And that market extends beyond supplement solutions to potential conception wearables. Earlier this year, Ava submitted a report to Scientific Reports stating the Ava bracelet detected the five most fertile days of a woman’s cycle. “What many women and their partners don’t realize is that a woman can only get pregnant five days before ovulation
and the day of ovulation itself,” said professor Brigitte Leeners, lead researcher from the University Hospital of Zurich. “Ava is the first technology that uses temperature, resting pulse rate and other parameters — including heart rate variability, sleep and bioimpedance — to provide a convenient and accurate at-home method to identify the beginning of the fertile window.”

The market also may extend beyond what many consider to be the ideal age for a “new mom.” Last year, Rainbow Light added the 35+ Mom & Baby prenatal multivitamin to its lineup because giving birth after 35 years of age is more common than ever — up 24% in the past 30 years, according to the company. Taking into account the unique health requirements of moms older than 35 years of age, Rainbow Light formulated a supplement to support an older new mom’s healthy blood-sugar levels while promoting circulation.

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