By  on June 24, 2011

The Questions On Retailers’ Minds At Marketplace

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meeting will kick off tomorrow in Boston, which is always a somewhat more difficult lure for retailers who like the venue of San Diego; but also an easier trip for East-Coast vendors.


Marketplace has always been a strong meeting, albeit one that has lost some of its appeal in the beauty category — especially with industry consolidation and the growth of other competitive shows. This will be the second to last year the meeting exists in its current form. A new and stronger show called The Total Store Expo will take over in 2013 in Las Vegas.


In the meantime, the event this year should prove to be fertile for companies who have opted to exhibit. There are some, such as Milani or Yes To, who are taking a year off. For many, there are so few chains that headquarter appointments are sufficient. But, for up-and-coming suppliers who can’t always secure office visits, the show is a great launching pad.


Retailers said they are using the time to initiate their own marketing campaigns. Where the meeting used to be suppliers “selling” to retailers, now many retailers take the meeting time to get vendors to fund their programs. Many of these efforts are for new in-store departments or even for deals for customer loyalty programs. With more retailers engaged in social networking, they are also using the meeting to work on programs with suppliers.


Some of the buzz will be created by buyers trying to determine the next hot item while also trying to ascertain what existing ones are “in for the long haul.” For example, a few retailers said they are eyeing the long-term commitment of Neutrogena to cosmetics, especially in light of delays in shipping new items. On the flip side, companies that had been sleepy, such as Revlon, are roaring back with new items such as the Gucci Westman products. There will also be a continued hunt by bigger brands to acquire fledgling beauty brands with unique products. At the National Association of Chain Drug Store’s Annual Meeting in April, several companies said they were eyeing acquisitions.


Among the first-time exhibitors this year that could be worth a look include:


Fiske Industries which is known for unique beauty products such as roll-on wrinkle removers; Derma e Natural Body Care, an antioxidant skin care line; Park Fragrances, a distributor of fine fragrances, and CLT, which is giving the Salon Selectives another shot on the shelves.


With shoppers returning to stores, the hope is the aisles will once again be clogged in Boston.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Abie Safdieh, chairman of Townley cosmetics, about the importance of licensing and how to reach tweens.

WWDBeautyNews: Is licensing still strong in girls’ cosmetics?
Safdieh: Our core licenses are doing great. All of the Nickelodeon properties have great appeal and of course our Disney Princesses. Even when sales slump, people still like to buy a license.
 
WWDBeautyNews: Is the bulk of the business still in specialty?
Safdieh: We still do well there, but we also have a great deal of mass market business and we think we know better now how to go back into chain drug and make it work for both parties. We have a new license coming out that will have a big presence at Wal-Mart for back to school.

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