It seems daily there is a report about how bad the holiday season was in 2008. Everyone has the e-mail about the barrage of stores that will close — whether it’s true or not. There’s plenty of fear about what 2009 will bring.
Drugstores, however, learned an important lesson during the holiday season. While much has been said about going upscale, adding pricy skin care and other potions, drug chains got back to their roots for the holiday. For many, the strategy worked.
This isn’t to say drugstores are awash in profits. Sadly, the good news came about from actually buying for a down season. Drug chain buyers tightened belts and took out their pencils to edit orders for Christmas. They reduced many of the gift sets they often stacked high. Gone were rows and rows of fragrances awaiting last-minute customers.
Instead of waiting for the day after Christmas to slash fragrance prices in half, many chains did so before Christmas. The ploy worked with fragrances moving earlier than usual, buyers said.
Perhaps it is a yearning for better days gone by, but some chains noticed an uptick in sales of classic fragrances. It has been a few years since scents such as Charlie or English Leather were labeled as good sellers. And, despite all indications that consumers might be fed up with celebs, buyers noted that celebrities’ fragrances in mass doors were among the bestsellers.
Drug chains have traditionally been a locale where consumers can dash in last minute to get a stocking stuffer or a fragrance gift set for an overlooked relative or friend. That reputation came to the forefront this holiday season to the channel’s benefit.
Research from WSL Strategic Retail, however, found discounters and dollar stores benefitted the most from channel shifting. Drugstores were an even trade, losing 12 percent of the channel’s shoppers most likely to discount or dollars, but picking up 10 percent of those deciding department stores and specialty retailers were too expensive. The Pulse Survey from WSL found that mass merchants had 32 percent of surveyed consumers trading into their doors. But 15 percent of shoppers traded out of discount stores to dollar stores.
It will be interesting to see how drugstore buyers gear up for 2009. Perhaps they’ll stick to tradition and emphasize good old fashioned value fragrances and bath gift kits.
A few words with Shawn Haynes, senior vice president marketing, global brand development for Markwins.
WWDBeautyNews: How would you sum up the holidays for your products?
Haynes: Due to the struggling economy and fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we saw consumers wait as long as possible to spend in hopes that the retailers would offer heavy discounts. Our items, which offer great value, saw very strong sales, especially those priced under $10.
WWDBeautyNews: Can you give us some examples from both The Color Workshop and Wet ‘n’ Wild?
Haynes: Specifically, from The Color Workshop, our color collections performed best outpacing our nail and shimmer sets. In Wet ‘n Wild, we experienced tremendous increases the week of Christmas as consumers stocked up beauty must-haves and stocking stuffers.
What’s In Store:
NRF’s Q and A: Wal-Mart’s president and CEO Lee Scott will not only make remarks at the upcoming National Retail Federation show next week, he’ll participate in a question and answer session.
Nivea Kisses and Tells: It was impossible to watch any New Year’s Eve coverage and not see the presence of Nivea. Many of those shivering in Times Square donned large Nivea hats. The brand’s “Kiss and Be Kissed Platform” served as the platform for the master of ceremony. There was also the Nivea Countdown Stage featuring musical performances. One of the bands was Parachute, which has written a song to be featured in the campaign for Nivea’s Body Smooth Sensation product.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion