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Rite Aid Expands Pure Spring

NEW YORK — In the wake of the plunge of one of bath and body’s true innovators into Chapter 11 emerges the expansion of one of the category’s few triumphs. Pure Spring, Rite Aid’s upscale private label bath line, is leveraging...

NEW YORK — In the wake of the plunge of one of bath and body’s true innovators into Chapter 11 emerges the expansion of one of the category’s few triumphs. Pure Spring, Rite Aid’s upscale private label bath line, is leveraging its popular bath brand into the bath accessories category.

Entering stores now are 24 new bath accessory items, including the Hair Wrap Towel, the Braided Bath Strap and the Net Soap Saver, a device designed to hold soap chips — soap remnants that otherwise wind up down the drain.

All products are shipping now and will be available at Rite Aid stores nationwide this month and next month. Prices for the bath accessory line begin at $1.79 for the Mesh Facial Brush to $9.99 for the Hair Wrap. Pure Spring bath accessories will replace the national brand Essentiel Elements.

The accessories will be merchandised on aisles located across from specialty bath products — depending on the store — in the store’s beauty quadrant. All products sport a blue Pure Spring logo, as well as a hang tag with a product description, a feature Rite Aid category manager Judy Wray thinks “dresses up the product.”

Wray explained that Pure Spring, which launched in March 2001, has developed into a multimillion-dollar brand with steady year-over-year sales increases. However, its sister brand, Elsewhere, has not fared as well. Elsewhere, a value-priced brand Rite Aid developed and launched at the same time as Pure Spring, is being discontinued.

“Elsewhere had its time, but our customer is more sophisticated” and demands more trendy items, Wray said.

Wray believes Pure Spring’s secret to success has been a combination of tactics, including its quick response to specialty store bath trends. An example is the recent launch of Pure Spring’s pomegranate variant, a response to the flavor trend that began in specialty outlets in 2002. “You don’t see that out in mass very much,” Wray said of the pomegranate line. “You just have to be around what is going on and around what is happening and replicating it.”

She attributed success also to to her fragrance fillers and research and developers.

“It is very synergistic between the scientists, the marketplace and our own ideas.”