NEW YORK — May’s Drug Stores is continuing to develop planograms in various departments, the most recent being hair care. This latest initiative will include carving out specific sections within the 36-foot department, such as a 5-foot teen hair care area.

This story first appeared in the September 27, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The planogramming process at May’s has been a gradual one. David Holetz, the company’s vitamin and nutrition buyer, has been responsible for the planogramming task. He’s been working on it for five years.

A planogram is a detailed blueprint that shows how and where products should be placed on retail displays. They have been used by retailers and manufacturers for 40 years — electronically for 20 years — to effectively?plan and maximize?profitability of retail space. The most important part of planogramming is basic inventory control, such as stimulating product movement and reducing out of stock and overstock situations.

The 39-unit chain, which is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., has had its pharmacies computerized since the mid-Seventies. It has utilized automatic replenishment and basic inventory tools throughout the chain for more than 20 years, but it hasn’t had a formal blueprint for many of its categories.

“We have always crammed the merchandise in the stores, but we started running out of room about five years ago when we got inundated with all the new products,” said health and beauty aids buyer Gregg Heller. “The new policy is to delete something if we bring something new in.” Heller explained that in hair care, some areas had too few stockkeeping units while other areas offered too many choices. The move toward planogramming hair care, he said, is both for “merchandising control, customer shopping ease and inventory control.”

Heller expects May’s hair care sales to benefit from planogramming. “Hair care for me now is a real chore. I know my professional [brands business] is way, way up but not enough to outweigh [a sales decline of mass brands]. Overall, I’m down in the category,” Heller said.

Sales of hair care products industry-wide are up 1.6 percent to $3 billion in food, drug and mass stores, according to data from Information Resources Inc. Data does not include sales figures from Wal-Mart.

May’s hair care department, which on average measures 36 feet, will now carve out a 5-foot teen section, to include several teen targeted brands, such as Advanced Research Labs’ Got 2 Be and Conair’s Head Case.

Heller said he cleared his hair care sections of about 100 sku’s, but added about the same amount of new products. “Just about every [brand] lost something, but in the 99-cent range, White Rain and VO5 took the biggest hit.” Heller added that Suave, another value-priced brand, was not as affected, mainly because Suave and other Unilever-made products sell so well in May’s stores.

Heller will also now merchandise all hair care products together on one shelf, meaning that shampoo, conditioners and styling products will be adjacent. Currently, some stores display styling across the aisle from shampoos or even in completely different parts of the store. “I really believe putting styling with shampoo and conditioner will take some of the confusion out of the mix for customers,” Heller said.