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Impact of last year’s flu season went beyond health, Walgreens survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Last year’s flu season resulted in 100 million lost work days, as well as $6.8 billion in lost wages, according to a new survey conducted by Walgreens.

In addition to the 100 million work days lost, Walgreens found that nearly 80% of those surveyed who got the flu last season said they at some point still went into work, while 60% were at least fairly concerned they would expose others to illness. What’s more, one-third of respondents spent between $251 and $1,000 on treating the flu last season, when taking into account missed work days, all or parts of vacations, child care costs, doctor visits and other related costs.

The survey, which examined the effects of influenza on people’s everyday lives and the economy, is the first of a two-part Walgreens Flu Impact Report series.

Other report projections included:

  • Nearly two-thirds of total missed work days would have been employer-paid, resulting in a cost of more than $10 billion to companies’ bottom lines due to lost productivity;

  • Nearly 2 million business trips also were cancelled last season, based on survey projections; and

  • About 32 million school days were missed due to flu last season, more than one-third of respondents with children said they needed to make alternative childcare arrangements when their children are sick, while 40% needed to take time off from work to care for a sick child.

“When it comes to the flu and your own personal calendar, there’s no planning for the many things it could impact,” Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness Kermit Crawford said. “Immunization rates have climbed and last season more than 40% of the U.S. population received flu shots. This report helps to reinforce the importance of getting a flu shot and how that small step toward protection can provide peace of mind when it comes to other important aspects of our lives.”

The Walgreens survey was conducted from Sept. 1-8, to a Vision Critical Springboard America panel to a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Americans ages 18 years and older.

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Kline report: Beauty sales through alternative channels experiencing strong double-digit growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

PARSIPPANY, N.J.  — Sales of cosmetics and toiletries through alternate channels have soared, growing by nearly $1 billion since 2005, according to consulting and research firm Kline & Co., and more double-digit growth is expected as consumers increasingly opt for the convenience of at-home shopping to meet their beauty needs.
 
Posting a 25.4% growth from 2005 to 2010, e-commerce sales are leading the way, followed by such home shopping networks as QVC and HSN posting a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20%, according to the latest Beauty Retailing USA 2010 report by Kline. Similarly, infomercials for such brands as Hydroxatone, ProActive, and Sheer Cover, bolstered by Guthy-Renker and its multimedia celebrity-endorsement approach to marketing, have seen sales grow more than 17%.
 
“Consumers are spending more time at home, either by virtue of unemployment, telecommuting, or merely a desire to save money by not going out so much,” stated Karen Doskow, consumer products industry manager at Kline. “Instead of running out to the store to buy their beauty products, they’re watching home shopping channels and infomercials to get the latest on new products.”
 
Consequently, brand marketers are exploring new tactics to build online buzz. Daily deal sites, such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and so-called “flash sale” sites, such as HauteLook, Rue La La and Gilt Groupe, are fueling e-commerce sales by creating awareness and enticing interest about new products or services by offering one-time discounts in order to create trial.
 
Doskow noted, however, that the bricks-and-mortar front is far from lagging. “Beauty has become the new revenue sweetheart in the traditionally slow-growing drug store channel as pharmacies reinvigorate their beauty offerings to lure customers with a more upscale, specialty-store look. For example, Walgreens’ acquisition of Duane Reade and its high-end ‘Look’ boutiques is expected to promote growth for both the chain and the channel. Meanwhile, CVS, Rite Aid, and others have begun offering new and improved customer loyalty programs and expanding shelf space for their beauty merchandise.”
 
Kline’s study also revealed that as brands increasingly look to leverage mobile and e-commerce to create seamless and ubiquitous purchase options for their customers, single-channel marketing is being rendered less viable.
 
“We expect a great deal of cross-channel promotion that will drive solid growth over the next five years,” Doskow added. “The Internet and mobile technologies are empowering consumers to be even more aggressive in their product and price comparisons and driving marketers to deliver value-based products to meet these demands.”

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P&G targets men shopping at CVS with new ‘Guy Aisle’ prototype in Charlotte, N.C.

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Looking to further tap into the men’s grooming market, Procter & Gamble has announced the creation of a prototype “Guy Aisle” in a CVS/pharmacy in Charlotte, N.C.

"Men are buyers, not shoppers," stated Michael Norton, director of external relations for male grooming at Gillette, which is owned by P&G. "They want to get the shopping done, and with all their grooming needs in one aisle, it makes shopping easier, quicker and simpler."

The new CVS/pharmacy men’s grooming section includes products specifically designed for men’s unique grooming needs, including Gillette, Old Spice and Head & Shoulders.
 
More than ever, men are interested in products for their grooming needs. In fact, Nielsen predicts the $2 billion men’s grooming business will grow to $3 billion by 2012, P&G stated.

"Men are paying more attention to how they look — a trend being driven by athletes and celebrities," Norton stated. "From the revival of the barbershop to a demand for innovative men’s beauty products, it is clear that men are not afraid to scrub, moisturize and put their best face forward."

As previously reported by Drug Store News, P&G has created in select H-E-B supermarkets a Men’s Zones. The store-within-a-store carves out aisles that are specially tailored to meet his grooming needs, boasting more than 530 products just for him.

In addition to featuring products from P&G, as well as other manufacturers, the Men’s Zone within H-E-B has touchscreens so he can get grooming tips and discover new products. There also are flat-screen TVs that can show sporting events or other information.

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