By  on June 4, 2010

NEW YORK — Exhibit space at this year’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Marketplace meeting is sold out for the first time in the history of the show. Manufacturers heading to San Diego this weekend hope the goods they’ll tout to retailers will have an equally brisk sell-through.

With moods improving almost daily, buyers and suppliers believe the trade show, held at the San Diego Convention Center from June 6 to 8, will be notably busier than last year’s somewhat lackluster gathering in Boston. Buyers said they’ve come with cleaner inventories and a need to inject pizzazz into their stores.

“The 2010 NACDS Marketplace Conference will deliver tremendous value to retailers and suppliers, and we are hearing a great deal of enthusiasm for the business opportunities that this event will present to participants,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven C. Anderson. “NACDS meetings and conferences are designed with our members’ priorities in mind, and they are focused on creating effective venues for collaboration, innovation and doing business.”

It is expected there will be almost 500 manufacturers from the health care, personal care, baby care, cosmetics and fragrance industries who will have the chance to meet with more than 150,000 representatives of wholesaler, mass merchant, supermarket and chain drugstores. Beauty and fragrance represents more than 70 of the exhibiting firms.

Of particular note is the fact there are 100 first-time exhibitors, including numerous representatives from the beauty business. A few to watch include Spa de Soleil, Delicious Brands LLC, LASplash Cosmetics and Happy Me Skincare. Some companies who haven’t been at Marketplace in a few years, such as Jesse’s Girl, have earmarked this year as the one to return.

“We have been doing ECRM and we feel it was time to expand to more retailers,” explained Eric Chen from LASplash Cosmetics, an up-and-coming color line. “We are not only bringing high quality to mass, but we are trying to revive the color part of the business which has been boring.” In particular, the firm will debut a light-up mascara, as well as several products infused with glitter.

Rena Revivo, owner of Spa de Soleil, added her firm is debuting at Marketplace because of the combination of private meetings and the trade floor experience. “Unlike other shows, we know those meetings are based on genuine interest instead of obligation — there is no pressure for anyone. This gives us the opportunity to understand what the buyer is looking for, which directly impacts our branding and marketing,” she said. The company will show USDA Certified Organic skin care lines Olive Essence and O2CH, as well as Dermatouch and Hydra Mar, which is a blend of botanical extracts, vitamin C and Dead Sea minerals.

This is Spa de Soleil’s debut in the mass market; distribution had been limited to salons and spas. She hopes there will be interest in environmentally friendly and affordable products at this year’s meeting.

Colleen Rothschild is no stranger to Marketplace, having shown with other companies. But this is her first with Delicious Brands and she’s using it as a venue to introduce her newest line, Eclos.

Happy Me Skincare hopes the concentration of buyers in one spot will be a good opportunity to explain its Superclear Natural Acne Healing System.

A major attraction at Marketplace over the years has become the Meet the Market, where buyers and sellers have one-on-one meetings to hear about new opportunities. In total, there will be 10,000 meetings in an eight-hour period. Another opportunity for manufacturers to better learn how to serve the trade will be during “Meet the Retailer/How to Do Business With” sessions. These sessions will offer the chance for suppliers to hear directly from retailers about effective strategies for taking their products to market. This year’s participating companies are Costco, Shopko, Walgreens, Wegmans, Chain Drug Consortium, CVS Caremark and Kmart.

Beauty retailers heading out to San Diego said in addition to looking for new items, they’ll want to gauge how successful efforts are to drive shoppers away from buy-one-get-one-free deals.

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