PRESTIGE GETS LUCKY AT THE CHECKOUT
Byline: Faye Brookman
NEW YORK — When Lucky Stores Inc., a supermarket chain in Dublin, Calif., wanted to put cosmetics at its checkout counters, the major beauty manufacturers recoiled at the offer.
They didn’t want to invest in special freestanding display units, and doubted that customers would buy personal items like lip liners and eye shadows while standing in a checkout line.
Prestige Cosmetics of Deerfield Beach, Fla. — a smaller firm — jumped at the opportunity. The result was a sleek checkout display that holds more than 120 beauty items, such as lip and nail pencils.
According to Jacques Cohen, president of Prestige, the fixture produces inventory turns more than double the cosmetics industry average of two per year.
“They [Lucky] wanted to offer something different than magazines or candy at a checkout,” said Cohen. “Since cosmetics is also such an impulse item, it made sense.”
Cohen said that as customers wait in the checkout line, they are likely to sample an item and purchase it on a whim. Prestige is one of a growing breed of niche brand cosmetics that mass market operators are putting into their stores to differentiate their chain from the competition.
Prestige is offering retailers fixtures that can be used as beauty outposts in departments other than cosmetics.
“It could also be positioned in apparel in a discount store,” Cohen explained.
Currently, according to Cohen, Prestige products also sell in Genovese Drug Stores of Melville, N.Y.; Duane Reade of Long Island City, N.Y.; Thrifty-PayLess of Wilsonville, Ore., and Eckerd Drug Co., Clearwater, Fla.
Price points on Prestige products range from $2.50 for a lip pencil to $4 for a foundation.
Now that the skin care products are being stocked in the cosmetics departments of drugstore chains and being sold more like a beauty item than a health and beauty aids product, retailers wonder if sun care will take the same route. The popularity of sunless tanners has prompted chains to merchandise sun care in the same section as skin care.
Some of the new sunless tanning items aiming for a larger share of the business include Procter & Gamble’s Bain de Soleil SPF+ Color, Schering- Plough’s Sudden Tan and Neutrogena’s Glow products.
Packaged Facts, a New York research firm, predicts sales of sunless tanning products will surpass conventional suntan volume sometime next year. National suntan sales totaled $34.6 million for the 12 months through August, with sunless tanners accounting for an additional $29.9 million in that period.
The success of the self tanners has helped make sun care a year-round department. Several buyers added that the rollout of the UV index will boost sun care sales, and offer both the pharmacist and the cosmetician a chance to consult with customers.
“People will be asking more questions of beauty advisers, and it is an opportunity for drugstores,” said Shirley Northorp, merchandise manager of cosmetics at London Drugs in Richmond, British Columbia.
The growing consumer awareness of the damage done by ultraviolet rays should result in “strong market growth in 1995,” said Kurt Brykman, senior director of sun care marketing at Schering-Plough Healthcare Corp.
The UV index, a joint venture of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service, was introduced through a pilot program in 58 cities in September. Using a scale of one to 15, it provides a daily reading of the risk level related to exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
The information is delivered on local weather reports by participating TV stations and advises consumers how much sun protection is needed that day. To maximize the tie-in between beauty and sun care, retailers will integrate stockkeeping units of sun care into the cosmetics departments.
Drugstores need the boost because sales are down. For the 12 months through August, drugstore sales were down 9 percent to $169.4 million from $185.7 million during the same period the year before.
Unit sales declined about 5 percent. Discounters are making big strides in the sun care arena. Through the first half of the year, annualized sun care volume in discount stores rose 14 percent to $430 million, according to Information Resources Inc.
According to Towne-Oller, a market research company, the three top-selling sunscreens are Coppertone Sport SPF 15 in 4-oz. tubes, Coppertone SPF lotion in 8-oz. bottles and Shade sunblock lotion SPF 45 in 4-oz. bottles.
The top three suntan products are Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil in an 8-oz. bottle, Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning SPF 4 in an 8-oz. bottle and Bain de Soleil orange gelée SPF 4 in an 8-oz. tube.
Bed, Bath & Beyond has become a dominant player in the home furnishings category. Now the company, based in Springfield, N.J., wants a piece of the $1 billion bath category.
Leonard Feinstein, president of Bed, Bath & Beyond recently said the chain of 55 stores will start selling its own bath items within its stores under the Beyond Indulgence logo.
Although bath sales are waning in the mass market, Bed, Bath & Beyond could capture impulse sales from customers who are already in the store purchasing related items such as towels and bath accessories.
Timothy R. McAlear, president and chief executive officer of Thrifty-PayLess Drug Stores, will be honored by John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, at a fund-raising dinner at the New York Hilton on Nov. 30. McAlear will be cited for his contributions to the chain drugstore industry, such as his leadership during the last five months in merging the Thrifty and PayLess chains. Proceeds from the dinner will be used to finance antidrug programs.