NACDS Members Have Productive Meetings, Discuss New Show

By all accounts, the recent National Association of Chain Drug Store’s Annual Meeting — held in Phoenix, Ariz., earlier this week — was one of the most upbeat gatherings of mass market retailers in the past two years. Sales are starting to perk up and the tone of the meeting reflected that.

 

If there’s any indicator of the mood, it is always the Revlon party on Friday night. In the heady days, Revlon served up a full-course meal often at the luxe Mar-a-Lago estate. Revlon chairman Ronald Perelman would sometimes play the drums with a top-notched performer. Then, Revlon results took a downturn and the party reflected a more austere company. The gathering became more of a cocktail reception sometimes attended by one of the celebrity spokeswomen; sometimes with just their photos. Fittingly, this year was in the middle.

 

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Revlon is gaining in many categories. Retailers were praising some of its items and were excited to see the company bring back one of the crowd’s favorites — Halle Berry. Berry was gracious and posed with every attendee, even recognizing some of them from her 15 years as a Revlon representative. One NACDS executive remarked that Berry’s been to more meetings than some of the members. The actress also spoke about the company and it seemed to come from the heart. She lauded Revlon for adding colors and shades that work with women of all backgrounds. The Revlon party provided further support the industry is coming back.

 

One thing NACDS wants to see come back is the traffic at the meeting that follows Annual: Marketplace. Over the past decade, the crowds have thinned thanks to a compressing industry as well as the costs of attending myriad shows. To that end, NACDS announced a major plan that will be in place by 2013. The new event is called the Total Store Expo and will be held August 10 to 13 in Las Vegas in 2013, which brings together Marketplace and two other meetings, namely Pharmacy and Technology and Supply Chain and Logistics. The positives are that top executives will be able to attend the more efficient meeting, while spending less on travel. The one obstacle beauty firms noted (other than the heat in Las Vegas in August) is that the timing is late for the industry. NACDS acknowledged that the timing isn’t perfect for every category, but that the meeting will take on a different role for different vendors and buyers.

 

Most manufacturers who haven’t attended Marketplace for a bit said this could entice them back.

 

Back out under the sun after the business program, buyers and sellers got back to work. Among the issues were ways to stem price hikes in raw materials, how to differentiate beauty departments and where to find companies to buy to help growth for manufacturers. Many companies privately expressed surprise over the price tag Revlon paid for Mirage Cosmetics, while also admitting they were jealous Revlon got the brand. Others said they are on the lookout for buys.

 

There was mention of trying to get more multicultural shoppers back and teens were talked about. Wal-Mart’s GeoGirl is quietly hitting stores after a firestorm of press faulted it for targeting tweens. The goal is that once moms see the line, they’ll appreciate the quality and positioning.

 

Creating huge buzz was the synergy between health and beauty. Procter & Gamble hammered that home in a wellness room, where taking care of your inside was shown to help your outside appearance. The company provided a glimpse at what stores of the future might look like, including an expert stationed at a kiosk that could provide information on multiple categories. P&G’s grooming room sizzled with men getting shaves and women enjoying makeovers. L’Oréal also provided an Essie manicure day and Coty provided manicures, pedicures, hair, makeup and even an education about fragrances.

 

After busy days of work, retailers had to make perhaps the biggest decision of the meeting — Sara Barielles or Foreigner? Those were two of the performers at events one night. Both deemed amazing by attendees, were opening and closing headliners Kenny Loggins and John Fogerty.

 

The reduction in the number of drugstore chains in the market hasn’t put a dent in attendance. In fact, NACDS has attracted more members from food and discount. In fact, the incoming chairman is not from a drugstore — he is the head of the HEB grocery chain, Robert Loeffler. HEB is not only a stronghold in pharmacy, the stores sport some of the best beauty departments in any channel.

 

While many missed the posh Breakers Hotel, those on the West Coast especially enjoyed the diversion to The Phoenician. Next year it is back to Palm Beach and to Denver for Marketplace.

People, Places and Things

A few words with Salma Hayek on the launch of Nuance, her new line with CVS Pharmacy. Hayek hardly needs the money or even to see her name splashed on products — she’s wealthy and famous enough on her own. Yet her desire to honor her grandmother is the driving force behind a new line she’s launching called Nuance. There’s 100 stock keeping units in hair, skin and face. She introduced the line at a lunch at the uber cool Mondrian Hotel in SoHo.

Hayek:
You probably attend six of these [press] events a week, but for me I’ve waited my lifetime for this special day. My inspiration for this line is my grandmother — a woman who had no college [education] yet was so smart. I was her hope and this does justice to her. I wanted to work on this hands on. CVS was crazy enough to let me in the lab. I could sell this anywhere, but I feel every woman should have the right to have access to products. I also wish I could go into homes and talk about these products.

What’s In Store

Drugstore.com Future So Bright It Needs Shades: There’s no stopping the innovation at drugstore.com even under new ownership. The Web site is adding accessories and sunglasses from Sunglass Hut.

CVS To Open More Beauty 360s: CVS has found beauty in beauty and has plans for 10 more of its specialty Beauty 360 stores this year. There are currently 25 open.

 

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