WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- As the cough and cold season took hold here, a Tops store carried the broadest selection in the category among retailers competing at an intersection in this Buffalo suburb.
The unit, located at Maple and Transit Roads, devoted 24 linear feet almost exclusively to cough and cold merchandise, and another 10 feet to allergy products. In addition, the store positioned two end-aisle cough and cold displays in proximity to each other in the nonfood section, SN observed during store visits last month.
Products featured on one endcap included Advil cold and sinus items, Dristan nasal spray, Dimetapp pediatric elixir and Robitussin 12 cough formulations. The second display contained Effidac 24, Advil, Tavist D, Robitussin, Tylenol Flu, Sudafed, Afrin, Contact, Actifed, Benadryl, Triaminic, Dimetapp, Theraflu, Alka Seltzer Cold, Vick's NyQuil and many Tops store-brand equivalents.
The cough and cold section was set horizontally with nasal decongestants and homeopathic remedies on the top shelf, followed by three, eye-level shelves of the leading brands and numerous formulations of cold, allergy and flu products. Syrups were merchandised on the bottom two shelves.
A Fay's Drug Store, located across the street in the Eastview Plaza on Transit Road, had a much smaller selection than Tops, with both cough and cold and allergy sections combined in 20 linear feet.
Both Tops and Fay's were aggressive with their private label in the category. Fay's used "compare and save" signs on the shelf. An example was 20-count Dristan Cold tablets priced at $3.99 compared with a Fay's equivalent for $2.99.
Meanwhile, a Kmart located directly next to Fay's had the smallest section of the three retailers with 14 running feet of cough and cold and allergy products flanked by two side-aisle shelves of Robitussin syrups and Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold. Price comparisons were made on 12-counts of Robitussin cough/cold liquid gel caps, Vick's NyQuil cold/flu and Sudafed severe cold products. In totaling the three brands, there was a $1.27 price gap between Tops' total of $10.53 and Kmart's total of $9.26. The three brands sold at Fay's totalled $10.17, a 91-cent difference from Kmart.
Although Kmart's prices on the three brands were lower than the supermarket and drug chain, it was clear Tops drew cough and cold customers on its selection.