LAS VEGAS -- Drug stores have been awaiting the graying of the baby boom generation like tourists in this city wait for the "Jackpot" lights to flash on their slot machines. But the retailers -- including a sizeable number of supermarket buyers -- who walked the convention floor at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace 2001 conference here June 29 through July 2 also saw a lot of tables taking bets on the next wave of population growth.
Several supermarket buyers interviewed by SN at the show acknowledged that health and beauty care and general merchandise products for the teen and tween markets are important areas to watch.
"Products for kids are good in supermarkets, maybe better than in drug stores," said one retail buyer.
Vendors of such products said some of their new wares are making inroads into the grocery channel.
Jack Stern, director of sales, North America, SandyLion Sticker Designs, Markham, Ontario, said a floor shipper featuring licensed products from the upcoming Monsters Inc. movie will be displayed in Supervalu stores starting in about two months. A source at Supervalu, Minneapolis, declined to comment.
Many products on display at NACDS lent themselves to the desire among kids to make bold statements of self-expression, following the trend of temporary tattoos and other body art products like licensed-character bandages.
A temporary hair-color product from the Hot Head division of Universal Products, Preston, England, for example, offered teens a variety of ways to add bright colors to their hair using a delivery system that incorporates a comb-shaped nozzle on the end of a tube of coloring. The Streak-In Combs, which retail for $6.99, launched in Walgreens in June and are now being rolled into the grocery channel using power-wing displays, according to Mike Peters, president, Hot Head.
One unusual body-art product for the preteen set took the temporary-tattoo craze to new territory -- inside the mouth. Tooth Tat-2s, from KidGenics, a division of Oralgiene USA, Culver City, Calif., did well in tests in Wal-Mart, according to Loren Kroc, vice president, KidGenics. The products, which feature simple, colorful designs like peace signs, rainbows, flowers, spiders and eyeballs, last up to 24 hours and can be removed through normal brushing. They come in four stockkeeping units, one each for boys and girls, ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, with a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a 16-tattoo package about the size of a compact disc.
Other new products for kids included a new line of colorful hair accessories from Helen of Troy, El Paso, Texas, called H.O.T. Things, which will debut in stores in January 2002. And Sissi, a new line of hair accessories targeting Hispanic girls, from Selected Trading, Miami, has been successful in Wal-Marts throughout the United States and Mexico, the company said.
Other HBC products for young girls launched at the conference included L.A. Colors from Beauty 21 Cosmetics, Ontario, Calif., a low-cost line rolling out in the fall, and Barbie-brand hair care products from Cosrich Group, Bloomfield, N.J., out in January, 2002.