By  on April 22, 1994

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The skin care brands of CCA Industries aren't as well known as those of, say, Procter & Gamble and its Oil of Olay.

But for many mass market retailers, they are just as important, especially to the bottom line.

In fact, two CCA items in direct competition with P&G -- Sudden Change, a skin care line, and Plus White, a toothpaste -- have been singled out as top movers at large chains such as Memphis-based Super D Drugs and Eckerd Drug Co. in Largo, Fla.

In addition to Sudden Change and Plus White, which each did around $10 million in wholesale volume last year, CCA distributes and markets over 70 other products, notably Nutra Nail 60 Second nail enamel, which had estimated sales of $6 million, and Wash 'n Curl hair care, with estimated sales of $16 million to $17 million.

Overall, CCA posted sales of $44.3 million in fiscal 1993, which ended Nov. 30, a 62.3 percent increase over 1992, when sales were $27.3 million.

Net income jumped 117 percent, from $1.2 million in fiscal 1992 to $2.6 million in 1993.

The CCA brands are sold through more than 40,000 retail doors in the U.S. Wal-Mart is one of the beauty supplier's leading retail accounts, producing 18 percent of CCA's total sales. Walgreen Co. and Kmart Corp. combine for another 20 percent of total volume.

According to David Edell, CCA's president and chief executive officer, the firm's strategy is to carve out a 5 percent market share of huge categories, such as the $5.1 billion hair care market. P&G leads that area with a more than a 30 percent share.

"We are too small to concern ourselves with capturing the major portion of the market share of any of our product categories," Edell said.

Still, Edell doesn't consider CCA a niche marketer.

"No product in the world has universal appeal, so what really constitutes a niche brand?" he noted. According to Edell, CCA uncovers new products primarily by internal development, but also when entrepreneurs bring new ideas to the firm.

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