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Journals focus on prevention with multivitamins

BY Drug Store News Team

There has always been an undercurrent of thought that a pound of prevention might save an ounce of cure. And now that cure is outweighing prevention in terms of cost, combined with the fact that Americans are looking for just about any way to save a buck these days.

And that certainly bodes well for the supplement business. It bodes well for the supplement manufacturers whose significant investments in grounding the supplement industry within sound science the past few years may soon begin realizing a return on that investment as more family doctors and healthcare researchers associate supplementation with prevention. And consequently associate prevention with lower overall healthcare costs, as evidenced by the recent article published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The article underscored the need of multivitamin use among children “who [have] health problems, less active lifestyles and limited access to food or health care.” Pair that assessment with the Journal of the American Medical Associations’ recommendation a few years back that all adults ought to be supplementing with a multivitamin and sprinkle in a steady flow of good news around the disease-prevention benefits associated with supplements like vitamin D, and you have a recipe brewing that might make legislators and regulators more open to arguments like that recently pitched by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, take a more holistic view of health and save healthcare dollars.

More important is the American consumer, who votes with her pocketbook. Overall vitamin sales exceed $3.8 billion in food, drug and mass (minus Walmart) outlets, according to Nielsen Group data for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, not only representing actual growth of 6.2%, but also representing a faster growth rate — sales were only up 3.7%  for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26, 2008. For the current period, multivitamins are up 2.3% and children’s chewables 7%.

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Elephant out of business because of economy; lack of financing

BY Michael Johnsen

BERKELEY, Calif. The challenging economy claimed its latest retail victim Tuesday, as Elephant Pharm shuttered its three locations for good after filing for liquidation under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

The chain’s three locations had been open on Monday.

“The company has been burdened with obligations that were quite difficult for a company of our size to carry,” Elephant Pharm CEO Kathi Lentzsch stated. “The current management team and board of directors worked diligently to grow the company to a size that could bear these obligations, but due to the current economic conditions and the tightening of the credit market, it has not been possible to raise the capital required to continue the business.” 

That suggests the Elephant business may have failed more because of its lack of heft — Elephant fielded the buying leverage of only three locations to fill store shelves in a full-size 12,000-square-foot-plus footprint — than because of its pharmacy business vision as a pharmacy that dispensed both traditional allopathic medicines and Ayurvedic herbs.

Pharmaca, based in Boulder, Colo., fields a similar business model, albeit in a much smaller retail box. Averaging 5,000-square-feet per location, the 23-store chain has secured some $20 million in financing this past spring and has more than doubled in size in the past year.

Executives at Elephant Pharm had been trying to secure additional financing in an exceedingly financing-poor market for the past year. The chain closed its Los Altos, Calif., location, which had been its fourth store, this past September. “In spite of these efforts, the company was ultimately unable to meet its mounting obligations and regretfully had no choice but to close its stores,” the company stated.

 “We are extremely proud of our team and what we were able to accomplish in the 6 years since we opened. We would like to thank our vendors and our very loyal customers for their support over the years.” Lentzsch said. “Elephant has been both a leader in its industry as well as a reflection of a greater societal movement for healthy change.”

Elephant Pharm employed 190 people across its three stores and at the home office.

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Febreze launches Destinations Collection

BY Drug Store News Team

CINCINNATI Febreze has launched its new Destinations Collection, offering fragrances in three scents: Hawaiian Aloha, Brazilian Carnaval and Moroccan Bazaar.

The new collection was inspired in part by the growing “staycation” trend.

“During these uncertain economic times, consumers are becoming more creative in providing escapes for themselves and their families without breaking the bank,” stated Scott Beal, Febreze brand manager. “The Febreze Destinations Collection offers boutique scents from around the world that create a temporary getaway through an authentic scent experience.”

The launch will be supported by an online “From Staycation to Vacation” sweepstakes on www.febreze.com/destinations that will run from Feb. 2 to July 5, 2009.  One grand-prize winner will receive a trip for four to Hawaii, Morocco or Brazil. Ten first-prize winners will receive $1,000 toward a home decor makeover and more than 1,500 consumers will win a coupon redeemable for any Febreze product.   

The Febreze Destination Collection is available nationally at food, drug and mass retailers with prices ranging from $2.99 to $7.99.

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