HEALTH

GNC seeks competitive edge with new store format

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK GNC is taking its boutique-style specialty shop to a whole new level, especially as it starts folding in product lines not normally part of a specialty supplement shop’s repertoire — yoga, pet supplements, probiotics, homeopathic health remedies, natural skin care, natural oral care and a wider assortment of arguably commodity-type supplement offerings, such as multivitamins and such popular health supplements as vitamin D or fish oil.

 

You’ve got to wonder, though, how much GNC’s relationship with Rite Aid is playing a part in all of this. GNC now has some 10 years under its belt in its partnership with Rite Aid, which means some 10 years of gleaning insights on how Rite Aid has successfully positioned that GNC store-within-a-store concept as a more profitable supplement center and a true point-of-differentiation.

 

It’s also been about two years since one of the Rite Aid executives who helped develop and nurture that GNC/Rite Aid concept in the beginning has been at the helm at GNC aspresident and chief merchandising and marketing officer. “GNC has a very unique position in the market,” Beth Kaplan told Drug Store News soon after she joined GNC. “GNC’s initial DNA is built around vitamins and supplements,” she said then, not just diet aids and sports nutrition.

It’s certainly a smart play — it’s more reflective of today’s healthcare mood as politicians continue to debate how to best infuse a cost-saving well-care sentiment in healthcare reform over the sick-care model that exists today. And it de-emphasizes perhaps the two more controversial categories GNC is currently best-known for — weight loss diet aids and sport nutrition supplements. They’re not abandoning those segments of course — it’s still going to occupy half the store’s footprint after all — and nor should they. They’re legitimate businesses when marketed and merchandised responsibly. But the fact remains that both weight loss and  sports nutritionals are under greater scrutiny with today’s more-aggressive Food and Drug Administration and the controversy surrounding performance-enhancing drugs being illegally marketed as supplements — the subject, in fact, of a Congressional hearing held just last week.

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The Preval Group showcasing two new products

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Maine The Preval Group is currently showcasing two new products for the retail channel — Wrecking Balm Tattoo Fade System and Quietus, a homeopathic remedy for symptoms of tinnitus.

With the tattoo fading system Wrecking Balm, available as a direct-to-consumer brand since 2006 and more recently through specialty channels (tattoo parlors), there is the potential for a new category in the drug channel. The product contains DemoMatic, approved as a Class I device by the Food and Drug Administration, and a Suffusion gel that helps exfoliate the upper layers of the skin, among other ingredients.

Current retail packaging contains between a one to two month supply of the product, but takes on average between six and eight months to fully fade the tattoo, which means return business.

Approximately 40 million Americans already have tattoos, the Preval Group, and citing the American Society of Dermatological Surgery, half of them consider removing permanent body art like tattoos at some point in their lives.

Quietus offers symptomatic relief to the symptoms of tinnitus, a ringing in the ears associated with exposure to loud noise that about 1-in-6 Americans experience in their lifetime. At greater risk to tinnitus are carpentry and construction workers, airport workers, gun enthusiasts and hunters, machine operators and night club workers and musicians.

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NAD: Bayer Healthcare ad claims for Aleve are supported

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Thursday determined that Bayer Healthcare can substantiate claims made in packaging, television, print and Internet advertising for Aleve and Aleve Liquid Gels products.

Claims at issue included:

  • “minimum daily dosing” and “minimum label dosing”;
  • “all day pain-free movement” and “stop pain all day”; and
  • “Only two Aleve can stop pain all day” and “that would take twice as many Advil.”

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed the claims at issue, following a challenge by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, manufacturer of Advil, a competing analgesic.

Wyeth also challenged a pill-count comparison graph that two Aleve caplets stacked next to four Advil caplets, with the claim “Just 2 Aleve = 4 Advil.”

 NAD noted in its decision that Bayer has, since at least 2002, made a pill-count comparison in its advertising, including the recent claim that two Aleve capsules equal four Advil capsules. The advertiser maintained, and NAD accepted, that the pill count comparison is based on the respective FDA-approved labels for Aleve and Advil.

Consistent with past decisions, NAD accepted product labels, approved by the Food and Drug Administration as reasonable support for the durational capacity of Aleve and Advil.

NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its “pain-free” claim, based on its FDA-approved label. Further, NAD determined that it was unlikely that consumers who use over-the-counter analgesics would expect to experience a complete absence of any pain.  The NAD also found that the advertiser established a reasonable basis for its value calculator, based on a minimum daily dose of two Aleve pills versus four Advil tablets.

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