HEALTH

Prestige Brands: Looking forward to January cough-cold reorders after strong Q3

BY Michael Johnsen

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Reporting on the third quarter ended Dec. 31, Prestige Brands’ CEO Matthew Mannelly told analysts Thursday morning he is "cautiously optimistic" regarding cough-cold reorders given the high consumption levels at retail in late December through January. 

"Cough-cold and flu incidence has [not] been rampant the entire season," Mannelly said. "It’s really mid- to late-December through January that it’s picked up. … You would have to be somewhat optimistic that with that pickup, in terms of consumer pull in mid- to late-December into January, that reorders would be coming in the fourth quarter."

Prestige provided some color as to just how strong that pickup in consumer consumption across the cough-cold category may be. For January 2013, the number of consumers impacted by a flu was up 27.6% as compared with January 2012, and up 21.4% as compared with a three-year average. 

"As you can see in the beginning of the [third] quarter, [retailers] were heavy [in cough-cold inventory] because they all took in at the end of Q2 in advance of cough-cold," Mannelly explained. "But since they’ve been working those down, inventory late December was at normal levels, and there was not excess inventory out there at retail."

So a strong cough-cold season couldn’t be the only factor driving strong third-quarter results at Prestige. The company reported revenues of $160.2 million for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, a 50.8% increase. "This was a tremendous quarter for us," Mannelly told analysts Thursday morning. "The bulk of our gains is really coming from increased velocity in terms of better merchandising performance," he said. "And also stronger consumer takeaway [from our] marketing spend that has [been] effective in driving people to shelves."

Prestige’s core OTC consumption growth outpaced category growth, the company noted, up 6.9% for the trailing 12 weeks compared to category growth of 3.2%. Across Prestige Brands’ OTC healthcare segment, revenues totaled $139 million, 63.7% higher as compared to the year-ago period. 

“The health of our core OTC brands, well-executed advertising and promotional initiatives, and the strength of our balance sheet all contributed to the success of our third-quarter and nine-month results,” Mannelly said. “We delivered record third-quarter revenues, backed by solid performance in our core OTC brands."

Among the brands which reported consumption gains were BC and Goody’s, PediaCare, Dramamine, The Doctors, Little Remedies, Clear Eyes and Chloraseptic, Prestige noted.


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Sergeant’s Pet Care Products taps Tiffani Thiessen for pet health awareness campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

OMAHA, Neb. — Sergeant’s Pet Care Products on Wednesday embarked on an awareness campaign alerting pet owners on how to keep their pets healthy. 

Sergeant’s and spokeswoman Tiffani Thiessen, actress and animal advocate, are joining on the emBARK on Pet Health campaign,  which asks pet owners to take a pledge to become more mindful of their pet’s ongoing needs at www.embarkonpethealth.com

Each pledge triggers the donation of a Sergeant’s Pet Health Kit to include with new adoptions at local shelters nationwide, with the help of the American Humane Association. Sergeant’s Pet Care Products is committed to donating up to 5,000 kits, which includes a shampoo, a dental kit, a "calming collar" and a joint supplement. 

"I have always been an animal advocate, especially for those living in shelters," Thiessen said. "Keeping my animals healthy and happy is of utmost importance to me which is why I decided to join Sergeant’s Pet Care Products and American Humane Association. I’d like to help educate and empower pet owners with the tools and information they need for daily pet care to aid in a long and healthy life for their animals."

"As pet owners and leaders in the pet care industry, we understand that pets truly are members of the family," stated Patsy Sumner, VP marketing services. "We know owners want to keep these family members healthy, so it’s our mission to ensure that we are a resource they can call on when they have questions regarding their overall health needs. The products and tools we provide are designed to ensure that pets and their families have long, happy and healthy lives together."


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California vaccine distributor reports inventory still on hand for last-minute inoculations

BY Michael Johnsen

TEMECULA, Calif. — While this season’s flu epidemic maintains its strength across the West Coast, one vaccine distributor announced Wednesday they still have vaccine on hand. 

"FFF is prepared to respond to the unpredictable nature of flu season. And our secure supply chain can always be counted on to deliver safe products — even in times of limited supply," stated Patrick Schmidt, CEO FFF Enterprises. "We purchase direct from manufacturers and sell only to licensed hospitals, pharmacies and clinics."

Last week,the California Department of Public Health reported outpatient influenza-like illness of 6.2% for the week ended Jan. 26, up from 4.7% the week prior. 

"Although flu season is already in full swing in California and across the country, there is still time for individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated," Schmidt said. Peak season is generally in February but can run well into March, he added.


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