CABOT GIVES COSMETICS VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — Cabot Laboratories Inc. wants retailers to turn to it for more than just their daily dose of Vitamin E.
The company, based in West Islip, N.Y., is known primarily for its Vitamin E skin care products, a line with an estimated wholesale volume of $10 million to $15 million. It is distributed in about 16,000 doors.
Now the firm is using the strength of its Vitamin E reputation to build sales of its color makeup Clear Perfection line.
Next month, Cabot will begin shipping Clear Perfection Makeup in seven shades. Clear Perfection contains vitamins A, C, K and E, as well as alpha-hydroxy acids. The suggested retail price is $6 for a 2-oz. bottle.
Retailers said it is the first mass-market color cosmetics line to bring together vitamins with alpha-hydroxy acids. The makeup is an addition to Clear Perfection Cover Creme, Cover Stick, Cover Creme Lite and a translucent pressed powder that have been available for some time.
The entire line was repackaged within the last year from pegboard carded containers to non-carded packages that fit into a special fixture. The fixture allowed Cabot to add stockkeeping units while reducing the amount of wall space required.
According to the company, sales are up 40 percent since the relaunch.
Cabot hopes to increase its penetration with Clear Perfection from 6,000 doors to 10,000 with the complete line.
The firm would not give sales projections, but industry sources estimate that the Clear Perfection line will have a first-year wholesale volume of $5 million.
Promotional and advertising costs will total an estimated $1 million, according to sources.
“With the introduction, we provide coverage and treatment of skin ranging from that with the slightest imperfection to major flaws,” said Linda Maiocco, vice president of marketing. “It is important for Cabot to break out of the niche and into being a full-line supplier.”
Clear Perfection is in chains that include American Drug Stores, based in Oak Brook, Ill., and Eckerd Drug Stores, Largo, Fla. The line has impressed Wal-Mart Stores so much that the chain, based in Bentonville, Ark., is adding Clear Perfection to its Cabot skin care program.
Cabot recently participated in Wal-Mart’s grand opening in Middle Island, N.Y., where it distributed more than 3,000 free samples — 1,500 of those in just four hours.
“We believe sampling is very important in building our awareness,” said Maiocco. She added that other promotions planned throughout the year will include one-pack free gifts that serve as sampling vehicles. The Clear Perfection fixture also has room for educational brochures that explain the brand.
Maiocco acknowledged that the $750 million makeup market already has many strong contenders.
“But retailers are telling us they need a breath of fresh air on the color wall,” she noted.
Using point-of-sale scan data, retailers have made room on the peg wall by reducing footage devoted to brands such as Revlon and by eliminating Procter & Gamble’s discontinued Clarion line. A buyer for a deep discount drugstore chain said she has space available on her cosmetics wall and is considering adding Clear Perfection to “offer customers something different.”
Clear Perfection will be advertised in Self magazine. No spending figures were available.
Cabot is also embarking on a plan to target dermatologists, pharmacists and nurses to familiarize them with its skin care and Clear Perfection lines in hopes they will make recommendations to patients.
In other categories, Cabot is offering a special Mother’s Day aroma therapy gift set. CVS Stores of Woonsocket, R.I., is planning to devote an entire end-aisle display to the sets, complete with special gift bags. The gift collection will carry a $7.99 price point.
Innovative promotions include Summer Survival Kits with products for hair, bath and foot care packaged together with a $5.99 suggested retail price. The firm also has packs of mini-sized bath products, tapping into the homeopathy craze. The line includes sport homeopathy packs with capsicum, arnica, calendula and epsom salts priced at $1.49.
Cabot is also building on its reputation in skin care with special packs of its Vitamin E treatment products. The packs will retail for 99 cents to $1.10.
Maiocco said several retailers are planning to use the packs, which are now being shipped, as a trial vehicle to encourage sales of full-sized items.
Cabot is supporting its Vitamines moisturizer line, launched last year, with a gift-with-purchase of any Vitamines sku.
The gift includes a Cabot Vitamin E lipstick, Clear Perfection retouch concealer, a mirror and $5 in coupons. The customer receives the free products in a makeup bag by sending in a purchase certificate.
Cabot was founded 1977 as a niche market manufacturer, and the company was best known then for copying department store strategies for the mass market. Maiocco said the firm now has a more long-term operating philosophy.
“Our focus is on vitamins and the benefits of vitamins in beauty care products. No other brand in department or mass is making effective use of these ingredients.”
Thrift Drug Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of J.C. Penney Co., has acquired Kerr Drug Stores, a 97-store chain based in Raleigh, N.C., with sales of approximately $185 million.
Thrift had sales of more than $1.5 billion and operated 525 retail drugstores in 12 states, including five stores in the Carolinas.
The purchase not only continues to feed the acquisition fever running through the chain drugstore industry, characterized by deals such as Rite Aid’s recent purchase of Perry Drug Stores, but will also yield an opportunity for Thrift Drug to continue to experiment with different store designs.
Several of the Kerr units, including some in Raleigh’s best shopping districts, such as Cameron Village, could be ripe for Thrift’s upscale prototype. Thrift Drug, based in Pittsburgh, recently opened its 60th upscale unit in a Pittsburgh suburb called South Park.
Among the elements of the upscale format are a bath and body department and lines not usually found in drugstores, such as Color Me Beautiful. Thrift has been aggressive in tailoring its store design and merchandise to the individual community served by each store, rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach.
Sensing that many mass market consumers say they want to protect their skin from harmful rays, but still bask in the sun because they feel they look better, Schering-Plough Health Care Products, Liberty Corner, N.J., has introduced a combination product.
Coppertone Protect & Tan, available on shelves this month, is a combination sun protection lotion and self-tanner in one.
Coppertone hopes it will appeal to the 70 percent of the population who said in a survey they believe they look better with a tan.
Coppertone expects the two sku’s — an SPF 15 and SPF 25 — will grab a 4 percent share of the sunscreen/tanning and sunless tanning market that is currently estimated at $600 million in total and $400 million in the mass market.
Several mass market tanners, such as Revlon’s, already have SPFs.
Coppertone is the market leader in all sun care with a 36 percent share — more than three times its closest competitor. Protect & Tan is available in a 4-oz. bottle with a suggested retail price of $6.49.
Coppertone, in an effort to better compete with cosmetically positioned self-tanners, has also repackaged and reformulated its sunless tanners. The new Coppertone Moisturizing Self Tanner has a fresh-smelling fragrance that masks the tanning odor associated with most self-tanners. James Mackey, vice president sales for OTC/Seasonal at Schering-Plough, said the product can be cross-merchandised in seasonal suncare and skin care.
Available this month, the new self-tanner is priced at $7.50 for four ounces.
As previously noted, Coppertone also unveiled plans to tie into the UV Index, a government sponsored program instituted in 1994 by the National Weather Service.
Coppertone is providing educational brochures in stores with a guide to understanding the UV Index that is broadcast on many TV weather reports. Coppertone is setting up UV Index fixtures in drugstores, supermarkets and mass merchandisers.
Mackey also said many mass market retailers are merchandising sun care products on a year-round basis. He pointed to Wal-Mart as example of a retailer that has been aggressive in building sun care sales.
Mackey noted, “Today Wal-Mart accounts for 20 percent of all sun care purchases — that’s one in five.”