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Seeking a Healthier Future, Drugstores Tap Into ‘Wellness’

Facing stiff competition, drugstores are reaching into their beauty departments to hitch their fortunes to the trendy wellness movement.

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Jackel is sensing a move on retailers’ parts to remerchandise beauty departments to take advantage of the synergies between categories such as sun care and cosmetics. “They are looking at adjacencies and not addressing aisles in the same, old fashion,” she said. Dovetailing that, Physicians Formula executives said they’d be branching more heavily into other categories beyond color in the next few years, and in the immediate future, will be putting more active ingredients into products to offer more healthful benefits.

A tussle is brewing at the other end of the price spectrum. During the time Markwins International took to digest last year’s acquisition of AM Cosmetics, Del Laboratories moved in with some accounts — most notably, CVS. CVS is testing NYC in some stores as its major budget option.

Bath and body brands continue to up the ante in beneficial ingredients. The White Rain Co. showcased its Te Tao bath line that has entered the new spa section at Target and has been doing well. There will be additional innovations to the line in October. “If we keep things new and fresh, the consumer does not wince at a $12 product,” noted Pete Columbia, senior vice president, sales and marketing at White Rain. “It is all about pampering themselves.”

Bill George, president of Markwins International, said AM Cosmetics is now totally meshed with Markwins and is starting to climb back up in dollar volume. “AM was troubled when we bought it and we have turned it around,” he said. In the next few months, he is confident industry data will show the upturn.

The number crunching could be deafening over the next few months as retailers make plans for next year’s planograms. “There will be changes. Some chains have been sitting on lines too long,” said George. He hopes retailers will award some of the precious footage to Markwins’ new Victoria Jackson line. Other brands hoping for a shot at consumers’ pocketbooks are Jane, now under the direction of Lisa Yarnell; Rimmel; Tru, and a handful of fledgling brands. Yarnell used the meeting as a time to reacquaint retailers with Jane’s positioning and a promise for the support it warrants.
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