HEALTH

Retailers, consumers seeing purple

BY Michael Johnsen

Customers are seeing purple again — reminiscent of another switch that took advantage of the eye-catching color purple. Sanofi-Aventis through its Chattem division in March launched Allegra, the last of the second-generation antihistamines. And purple-powered displays, like this in a Walmart in Lancaster, Pa., dotted the retail pharmacy landscape.


“We will make very, very massive investments in terms of advertising and promotion, and we are in fact very confident and even optimistic that in a very, very short [time] we will reach sales levels [as high as] the two leading products in this field,” boasted Hanspeter Spek, president of global operations for Sanofi-Aventis, a few weeks before the actual launch. 


Though Allegra is not expected to reach the sales heights of $200 million-plus like its two second-generation antihistamine predecessors, Claritin and Zyrtec, an incremental $100 million-plus to OTC allergy sales is not out of the question.

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Walmart gets back in on the action

BY Michael Johnsen

Action Alley — branded feature displays and four-sided fixtures in the main aisles — marked its return to all Walmart stores this past holiday season, and signified Walmart’s return to promotional intensity.


“Action Alley is a characteristic communication to our customers,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, last year. “It’s how we talk to them. Other competitors have other things — discount cards, loyalty cards, double coupons. For us, Action Alley is an important piece of who we are because it tells the customer what we believe is important, and it adds that element of excitement that says that this is a Walmart store.”


Action Alley proved to be a significant factor in Walmart’s increase of 8.2% in inventory for its fiscal year ended Jan. 28. Coupled with a similar return to increased assortments, these two initiatives contributed approximately 120 basis points of the total growth for the year, Simon told investors in February.

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Wegmans tackles diabetes

BY Michael Johnsen

Wegmans Food Markets last fall began installing Diabetes Solutions Centers across all 77 of its stores. This one, located in Wegmanʼs newest Maryland store in Woodmore, is adjacent to the pharmacy in the waiting area. Across from the pharmacy, which is located in the center of the store just behind the checkout registers, is Wegmans extensive health-and-wellness-oriented medicine and supplement section.


The center merchandises Wegmans’ new store-brand blood-glucose monitoring systems from Nipro Diagnostics, as well as other diabetes products and supplies.


Patients in search of information online can find a dedicated diabetes page at Wegmans.com under its “Eat Well Live Well” tab. Sections on meal planning explain exchanges and carbohydrate counting. And there also are seasonal diabetes meal ideas, tips on party and celebration foods, and nutritional information in the online product catalog.

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