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Smaller energy shots take aim at busy moms, sports enthusiasts

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK —Better things sometimes do come bottled in smaller packages—at least according to a host of companies poised to delivery the next “thing” in energy drinks, tabbed the energy shot, a 2-ounce non-refrigerated shot that packs as much punch as such energy drinks as Red Bull, which trailblazed the energy drink category, but don’t have nearly the number of sugars or carbohydrates.

Because they don’t require refrigeration, they can be merchandised in more convenient placements other than the cooler at the back of the store—the checkout for instance, or alongside meal-replacement bars, where a health-conscious consumer already is shopping for protein and energy bars.

And the shots also are small—and that means more potential turn across a smaller allotment of shelf, especially important in today’s competitive supplier environment where shelf space comes at an über-premium. It’s a small cube with exceptional turns that’s easy to merchandise in high-impulse locations throughout the store.

“Over the last 24 months, the 2-ounce product has been the leader in growth in the nutritional category,” noted Jeffery Joyner, president of the brokerage firm J. Joyner Group, which recently signed Shotz, a distributor with a new line of those 2-ounce energy shooters. “Category managers are choosing to merchandise [the 2-ounce energy shots] at the checkout, in nutritionals and in the beverage department,” he said.

And it’s by no means a small category. Bond Laboratories, one of the companies that recently introduced a new energy 2-ounce shot to the channel, estimated the entire energy drink category at about $2.6 billion, citing data from the Beverage Marketing Corp. And energy shots make up 11.7 percent of those sales, which translates into more than $275 million across all channels.

Shotz is looking to make an appeal beyond what had previously been considered the energy junky—the young college male. “The design [of Shotz] is to give the business woman, soccer mom, business man, sports enthusiast and others that boost of energy they need to get them through the day,” Joyner said. “Also because the package of Shotz is so aesthetically pleasing, women don’t mind carrying the product in their purse and allowing others to see what they have.”

Bond Laboratories, meanwhile, is spending some $7 million in advertising this year to shore up brand identity of its Fusion Energy brand among the initial key demographics—”generation next” 20-somethings who are more interested in doing something then watching that something get done on television. Accordingly, Fusion Energy is the official sponsor of L&M Racing, the premier dirt bike racing team. L&M Racing fields two of the top names in that sport—Chad Reed and Nathan Ramsey—through the AMA and World Supercross Championships, and Fusion Energy also sponsors golf pro Pat Perez.

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MinuteClinic moves forward with Massachusetts plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic, a clinic operator owned by CVS Caremark, has applied for its first 10 clinic sites in Massachusetts and expects the opening dates to be in late summer to early fall.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, in January, state health officials approved regulations allowing for limited service medical clinics, marking the end of a long review process that included two public hearings and the submission of hundreds of pages of testimony regarding the regulations.

MinuteClinic stated that it is working with the Massachusetts Department of Health and “is confident that the sites meet the regulatory requirements and will receive approval to move forward.”

The new in-store clinics are planned for CVS stores in Ashland, Beverly, Bridgewater, Danvers, Medford, Medway, Stoughton, Taunton, Tewkesbury and Westford.

The sites are the first of a total of 25 to 30 the company expects to open in Massachusetts by the end of 2008.

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Hallmark exits online flower and gift business

BY Doug Desjardins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Hallmark is exiting the online gift and flower business, citing a less-than-acceptable return on investment. The move will result in the loss of about 100 jobs at its corporate headquarters and distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., though Hallmark said it would try to find new jobs in the company for those workers.

Hallmark started its online flower business in 2001 and its online and catalog gift and decor business in 2005. The decision will not affect its online business for greeting cards and stationery. A company spokeswoman said Hallmark decided to shutter the flower and gift divisions after determining they “couldn’t guarantee the results we needed.”

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