NACDS Slow But Productive

Don’t blame the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for the slow traffic at its Marketplace Show in Boston. NACDS has done all it can to keep the show relative, adding features such as Meet the Market and Meet the Retailer. And although the number of visitors has dwindled since its heyday in the Nineties, the show still serves a purpose in the beauty business.

In reality, all trade show traffic is down. The HBA Global meeting in New York was also quiet this week. Myriad factors have made trade shows less desirable. In the case of NACDS, rampant industry consolidation has made it easier for manufacturers to travel to headquarters. Also, high costs of exhibiting at the show have companies reevaluating the need. In the chain drugstore industry, also, there are competitive shows siphoning off some attendees. Several manufacturers in Boston did wonder if they got enough out of the exhibit time to justify the cost.

With all that said, many at the show raved about a feeling that can only be found in a trade show booth on an exhibit floor. “We can’t do all of this in an office,” said Markwins’ president Bill George. The same is said about discovering newcomers, such as Love + Toast, which gave buyers a real-life view of how an in-store boutique could look in stores. There’s always one booth that catches the eye of retailers, and at this show it was Love + Toast. Sinful Cosmetics’ general manager Paul Murphy seemed to get invigorated by the show. “I love this. It gives us the chance to show the Sinful story,” said Murphy, who’s returning to a post at his past employer, Revlon.

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It is also a great chance for retailers to greet and chat with one another. On the opening day of the show, several buyers were asking about others. “Have you seen Judy Wray yet?” said a few who were hoping to catch the always upbeat Rite Aid executive. The Walgreens team swarmed the floor en masse, totaling more than 20 strong. When one spotted something creative, such as nail files with jewels encrusted on the top, they called the others over. Carmen Bauza, Wal-Mart’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of beauty and personal care, also cruised the floor and chatted with many vendors clamoring to get the nod from Wal-Mart.

Next year’s show is in Denver, a location choice that’s eliciting mixed emotions. The following year will be the debut of the Total Store Expo in Las Vegas, with a new timing of August. Surprisingly, despite great public relations by NACDS, many of those at the show didn’t know or didn’t understand the new concept. Although many think the August timing is problematic — and some fear too many executives will be missing — they said they are still willing to give the new format a try.

The hottest categories at this year’s show were nail care, bath and skin care. Many retailers said they are tired of seeing their core businesses eroded by specialty stores, such as Victoria’s Secret, and they are ready to pounce back and rebuilt their categories.

The Boston Convention and Exhibit Center served as a great location for the show, with easy airport access and convenient hotels.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Harvey Alstodt, the former president of Del Cosmetics, who now has a new firm called MBA. He showed some interesting new nail products at the show and welcomed old faces, who were thrilled to see him back in the industry.


WWDBeautyNews: What’s behind the name of the company?
Harvey Alstodt: Well, if you are going to be in the beauty business, you need your MBA: master’s of beauty!


WWDBeautyNews: Describe your plans
H.A.: We have a nail color called Confetti in CVS Pharmacy, and we are now rolling out other lines. We have a great formula and great products. We have many bloggers already raving about our products and a teen adviser board. For holiday, we have an exciting promotion called Pic-A-Colour, with 12 shades for $14.99 or an 18-piece one for $19.99. We also have some fun products, such as Spotlight, with a light for nail application and a version for lip. We have much more planned for 2012.

What’s In Store

Kardashians and Nicole: It worked for Justin Bieber. Now Nicole by OPI has celebrities across all ages and styles with the signing of the Kardashian family. Even mature women can have their own celebrity to mimic, with mom Kris on board.

Gel Nails:
Retailers have been waiting for the latest salon trend to finally hit mass. At the show, several retailers were most excited about CCA’s Gel Perfect, a UV-free gel polish that dries in five minutes. Also new for CCA are Shadow Shields, patches that affix under eyes to eliminate makeup disasters such as smudged mascara or overflowing shadows.


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