PHAR-MOR ENTERS PRIVATE LABEL BATH

Byline: Andrea M. Grossman

NEW YORK — “If you can’t be first, be first at being second,” said Nick Colosimo, director of marketing for Phar-Mor’s cosmetic and beauty department. Colosimo is referring to Phar-Mor’s late entry into the private label bath arena, which is scheduled for mid-November, 10 months after Eckerd and CVS launched their private label bath lines. But the delay bought Phar-Mor time to study its competitors’ wares and the opportunity to launch a more competitive product than if it had rushed to market this summer with a me-too bath line.
Subsequently, Phar-Mor’s line indeed boasts qualities Eckerd’s Comfy and CVS’s Essence of Beauty don’t. Most notably, it targets four demographics with four separate collections under Phar-Mor’s private label personal care brand, KD Karen Dianne.
“We looked at our competition and saw they really only cater to one particular customer. I mean, if they want to be like Sarah Michaels, that’s O.K., but there are customers with money to spend, so we had to give them something else to buy,” said Colosimo.
Within the 91-stockkeeping unit bath collection is KD Baby, a line comprised of baby bath soaks and baby washes, packaged in mock milk cartons and glass bottles. KD Signature Series, a high-end line looking to rival premium bath brands like Sarah Michaels, packages bath salts and body scrubs in glass bottles imported from Germany. KD Experience targets teens with shimmer gels and fruity glycerin soaps, and KD Kids the Water Safari Collection, uses finger paint soaps to target kids.
Colosimo would not comment on sales expectations for the KD bath line, but industry sources expect the line to generate more than $1 million in first-year sales.
But boosting bath sales are not Colosimo’s main objective. He pointed out that Phar-Mor’s bath sales increased 25 percent from 1999 to 2000, due in large part to an injection of new items appealing to the lucrative teen market. What Colosimo hopes to get from KD bath is a 25- to 30-gross-margin-point increase.
“These are all high margin products, so we can justify promoting it very aggressively,” Colosimo said. “We are aiming to get a higher dollar ring, so we absolutely did not skimp with this product. We are doing what Bath & Body Works has been doing,” he added.
Four vendors designed the lines, and also helped orchestrate focus groups to see which products had the most appeal.
Competition from national brands does not worry Colosimo.
“I don’t think anybody is loyal to any one particular national brand. [Sales of many products] have become flat because it’s the same identical flavors every time you come into the store,” Colosimo said, adding that packaging and formulas for KD lines can easily be changed as national brands change their mix.
KD bath will initially roll out as a test to 82 of Phar-Mor’s 139 stores. The move is designed to decipher which products are a hit and which are not. Sku’s from KD Signature Series, KD Kids and KD Baby will be displayed in 4 feet of shelf space within Phar-Mor’s 24-foot bath department, Personal Oasis. In addition, a 4-foot end-of-aisle display will promote KD Experience, “to make a real statement,” Colosimo said. Other areas within the bath department will be utilized as promotional space for the bath collection, too.
The line has the potential to encompass 12 feet of space, but will not roll out as a whole until after the first of the year, “if in fact it warrants that much space,” Colosimo said.
To drive awareness to the KD bath line, Colosimo engineered an in-store marketing program.
Shelf talkers will feature product information. Vinyl floor stickers will point out KD lines on shelves. Hang signs aim to attract consumers from across the store.
Promotional initiatives are designed to introduce customers to a product they might not regularly use. For example, Colosimo plans to run a promotion offering a discount on KD bath salts with the purchase of KD lotion. Buy-one-get-one free promotions will be offered, too.
Point-of-purchase materials will be dropped within KD’s dedicated shelf space, “rather than build up the inventory,” Colosimo said, explaining that promotional materials make for a better use of space.
Looking forward, the KD brand, which is also on Phar-Mor cotton balls and nail polish remover, also could include candles, all natural bath products, spa treatment products, skin treatments and a men’s line “if we can make this a successful name in the store,” Colosimo said.

KD Bath Collection
KD Signature Series
SKU Count: 27
Target: Women 20 and older
Description: Premium-type formulations are packaged in bottles imported from Germany. Labels are screened onto containers rather than glued. Formulations include moisturizers, body oils, body cleansers, body scrubs, bath salts and hand cream. Flavors are unique to mass with vanilla fig, cucumber melon, red currant, ginger berry and Asian pear.
Price Points: $5.50 for bath salts to $8 for body moisturizer

KD Experience
SKU Count: 41
Target: Teens
Description: Experience incorporates current bath trends, like shimmer mists, and creates new ones, such as an antibacterial gel containing suspended confetti. Plastic letters embedded into glycerin soap bars spell out words such as H-O-T, D-I-V-A and F-L-I-R-T. Trial sizes look to trigger impulse purchases. Flavors for three-colored shimmering “gradiant” lotions include lemon lime, cucumber melon, raspberry and pearberry.
Price points: $1.69 for trial sizes to $4.49 for shimmer mist.

KD Kids the Water Safari Collection
SKU Count: 16
Target: Kids
Description: Designed to be fun-in-the-tub type products. Water Safari features jungle animals on container labels and includes shampoo, conditioner, body washes and finger paint. Flavors are geared toward kids, too, with blueberry, banana, grape and strawberry variants. Price Points: $5 for a bath bubble to $7 for shampoo

KD Baby
SKU Count: 7
Target: Moms with babies
Description: Traditional baby items such as a baby fragrance, baby wash, baby lotion, diaper cream and buttermilk bath soak are packaged in untraditional mock milk bottles and cartons. Price points: $5 for buttermilk bath soak to $6 for baby lotion

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