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FDA issues warning letter to Zarbee’s for making treatment claims regarding its supplement products

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration in late June issued a warning letter to Zarbee's for making therapeutic claims regarding a dietary supplement product. "The therapeutic claims on your website establish that the products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease," the agency wrote. "[I]ntroducing or delivering these products for introduction into interstate commerce for such uses violates the Act."
 
Examples of some of the treatment claims made by Zarbees include that its Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Cough Syrup-Grape “calms coughs.”
 
The agency also found fault with Zarbee's customer testimonials on its site, and criticized the company for "liking" testimonials on its Facebook page. "Zarbees 'liked' the following comment made on Feb. 11, 2014," the agency wrote, regarding the company's children’s Sleep remedy. "[Customer:] 'I received the free sample … and … gave it to my daughter … I could not believe how well it worked! She was recently diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication … causing insomnia.'"
 
Zarbee's has until mid-July to respond to the FDA warning letter. "Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including seizure and/or injunction," the agency warned. 
 
 
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Fred’s Super Dollar posts $191.2 million in June sales, up 2%

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's Super Dollar on Thursday reported sales of $191.2 million, an increase of 2%, for the five-week month of June, which ended July 5. 
 
Comparable-store sales for the month decreased 0.6% compared with a 4.5% increase in the same period last year. 
 
"Comparable-store sales declined slightly for June, with the fourth week of the month being unusually soft as we were unable to place our new ad program for that week," stated Bruce Efird, Fred's CEO. "For the weeks that the new ad program were in effect, sales and customer traffic patterns improved noticeably. Our pharmacy department continued to experience strong growth in June, highlighted by ongoing increases in both comparable scripts and sales. Additionally, sales for EIRIS Health Services, our specialty pharmacy division, accelerated and exceeded plan," he said. 
 
"Looking forward, July will be the first month that all the elements of our new marketing plan come together, including in-store marketing initiatives that promote the diverse product mix offered by our stores, together with our new, fully implanted ad program," Efird continued. "We also will begin an aggressive clearance program in July to clear unproductive SKUs and exit or reduce product categories that do not align with our convenience center model." 
 
Fred's total sales for the first five months of fiscal 2014 were $840.9 million, approximately flat compared with $841.1 million for the same period last year. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 1.3% versus flat sales for the year-earlier period. 
 
 
 
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From cyber to cement, Birchbox opens first store in NYC

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Beauty subscription company Birchbox has announced the opening of its first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan, which leverages the insights and feedback gathered since the company’s launch in 2010 from its more than 800,000 active subscribers.

(Click here to view the slideshow.)

“Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” stated Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers' needs.”

The Birchbox store, which opens it doors to shoppers on Friday at 433 West Broadway in New York City, includes:
— Curated product assortment featuring 2,000 products from 250 brands including Smashbox, Caudalie, Jouer, Supergoop!, Cynthia Rowley, Baxter of California, Lab Series, and Art of Shaving. Testers of every product in the store will be available.
— A vertical merchandising strategy that allows consumers to shop by category instead of by brand. For example, a shopper could come in looking for a red lipstick and compare different types in the makeup section of the store.
— A dedicated B.Y.O.B. – Build Your Own Birchbox – section where shoppers can hand-pick five sample size products of their choice for $15.
— Editorial content, videos and product reviews throughout the shop to help customers learn and self-navigate.
— A “Try Bar” where customers can experiment with different beauty trends and find the products that are right for them.
— Beauty services available by appointment (and for walk-ins when available) for hair, nails and makeup.
— Group classes will be offered on a variety of topics. Classes are designed to appeal to all types of beauty consumers and allow them to sample, try and learn about the products. Classes will be free for Birchbox subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers.

Personalization through technology and content will be at the core of the seamless in-store shopping experience. With touchscreens throughout the store, customers will be able to answer a few questions about themselves to source product recommendations, along with customer reviews and video demonstrations to assist consumers in their product selection.

 

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