DSN - June 2019

Page 1

JUNE 2019

Pharmacy: Immunization Nation P.58

Rite Aid’s ‘Path to the Future’ The company’s top executives discuss the road ahead in exclusive interviews with DSN

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Vol. 41 No. 6 DrugStoreNews.com


54 News

26 Focus On: High Ridge Brands

56 Spotlight On: Travel Essentials

30 CBD Report


34 Rite Aid’s ‘Path to the Future’

58 Immunization Nation

DSN’s exclusive interviews with the management team of the Camp Hill, Pa.-based retailer

Pharmacists continue to grow their role in providing vaccinations to patients



6 Editor’s Note

64 Evolving Diabetes Care Innovations in monitoring blood glucose and administering insulin stir the category

8 Industry News 16 ECRM Roundup Products that stood out at the recent EPPS

70 Diabetes Products


20 Counter Talk with NACDS’ Steve Anderson

72 REX Awards

22 One-On-One with Sera Labs’ Nancy Duitch

28 Products to Watch


DSN spotlights the best of the best among general merchandiser manufacturers

78 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

INSIDE BEAUTY 48 Hair Care’s New Wave The impact changing consumer needs is having on the hair care assortment at retail

SOCIAL Facebook.com/ DrugStoreNews Twitter.com/ DrugStoreNews


DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) is published monthly 12 times a year by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rates: Manufacturers, schools, libraries and all others allied to the field $119. Canadian subscribers $129. Foreign subscribers $225. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. For change of address, six weeks notice to Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200 is requested. Give old and new address and zip code. If possible, enclose address portion from cover on previous issue. Subscription changes also may be emailed to drugstorenews@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. Vol. 41, No. 6, June 2019. Copyright © 2019 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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The Best and the Brightest DSN will recognize the women who stand out in the industry By Seth Mendelson


big part of what we do here is recognizing the best of the best. Who stands out in a crowd? Who is making a difference within their own organization? And, who is going above and beyond in terms of helping the retail industry, in general, and all of the people that make it up? This fall, Drug Store News will honor the women in the health, wellness and beauty categories who are making a difference in our industry. We will feature them in our October issue, highlighting what they have done to stand Seth Mendelson Editor in Chief/ apart in a crowd and how they have helped their own Associate Publisher organizations and colleagues, as well as the overall retail world. DSN also will host a dinner honoring the winners in late October in Chicago. “Our goal is quite simple,” Laura Fontana, the project director and a member of the DSN sales team, said. “We want to help recognize the women in the mass retail industry who are making a difference, and give them a chance to have their moment in the limelight. But we are also doing this to show other women — perhaps younger women just entering our industry — that by working hard and smart, they will also have their chance to be recognized in the future.”

This fall, Drug Store News will honor the women in the health, wellness and beauty categories making a difference in our industry. We will feature them in our October issue, highlighting how they have helped their organizations, colleagues and the retail world. To be honest, though, we need your help. While we love to think we have our finger on the pulse of the industry, we also are well aware of the fact that there are many things we do not know about what is happening in the marketplace. This is one of them. So we are asking members of the retail trade to nominate colleagues that you believe are among the best and the brightest women in the health, wellness and beauty categories. We ask you to visit our nomination form at DrugStoreNews.com/ TopWomen, where you will be able to nominate the women you believe have made a difference at your organization, or you have seen do great things elsewhere. With your help, we are confident that we can discover the women who are helping our industry thrive and recognize them through the pages of our magazine and at our celebratory dinner. Now it is up to you to get involved. We hope we can count on your assistance on what we believe is an extremely worthy project. dsn


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Vice President, Publisher Eric Savitch (856) 489-3336, esavitch@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL Associate Managing Editor David Salazar (212) 756-5114, dsalazar@ensembleiq.com Senior Editor Sandra Levy (845) 893-9573, slevy@ensembleiq.com Desk Editor Maria Manliclic (212) 756-5093, mmanliclic@ensembleiq.com Online Editor Gisselle Gaitan (212) 756-5138, ggaitan@ensembleiq.com SALES & BUSINESS Beauty Director Laura Fontana (440) 724-4369, lfontana@ensembleiq.com Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Brand Marketing Manager Mary Ellen Magee (856) 419-8411, mmagee@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@ensembleiq.com Director of Audience and Data Gail Reboletti (224) 231-6363, greboletti@ensembleiq.com PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, destey@ensembleiq.com Creative Director Colette Magliaro cmagliaro@ensembleiq.com Art Director Amy Kelkenberg PRESIDENT Consumer Goods Retail Business Jennifer Litterick (647) 946-9219, jlitterick@ensembleiq.com CUSTOMER SERVICE Having a problem with your subscription? Send us full details with the mailing label of the last copy you received, along with your telephone number. Write to: Circulation Fulfillment Director, Drug Store News, P.O. Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200; email drugstorenews@omeda.com; or call (847) 564-1468 CIRCULATION LIST MANAGER Elizabeth Jackson MeritDirect (847) 492-1350 x 318. REPRINTS PARS International, LF-Reprints@parsintl.com, (212) 221-9595 x435, tinyurl.com/LF-reprints. Single copy price is $20 for a regular issue and $100 for a statistical issue. PERMISSIONS For permission to reuse material from Drug Store News/DSN (ISSN 0191-7587) please access www.copyright.com or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600, (855) 239-3415. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of uses.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman Alan Glass Chief Executive Officer David Shanker Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Operating Officer Joel Hughes Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several


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Procter & Gamble Debuts Pepto Diarrhea, Pepto Bismol Liquicaps Procter & Gamble is broadening the offerings

Genteel, Smart Meter Win DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Awards Genteel won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its

blood drawing device during ECRM’s Diabetes/Clinical Programs, Connected Devices & Patient Engagement Program in Bonita Springs, Fla., last month. Smart Meter was a finalist for its iGlucose blood glucose monitoring system. The two companies were selected from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the EPPS meetings. Buyers cast their votes based on product innovation and packaging. “The two winning products are great examples of how companies are using technology innovation to promote adherence for diabetic patients,” Michael Castillo, senior vice president of Pharmacy and Medical Markets at ECRM, said. “Genteel’s product removes the pain and mess of extracting blood, while Smart Meter’s iGlucose monitor enables users to easily and regularly track blood sugar levels.” Genteel was founded by Christopher Jacobs, who has a doctorate in biomedical engineering and sought to develop a blood drawing device that did not require the painful and messy pricking of fingers that is typical for blood glucose testing. The patented Genteel is a lancing device that enables those with diabetes to have pain-free blood drop extraction anywhere on the body. It’s around the same size as most lancet holders, yet it’s the only stand-alone FDA cleared lancing device that can reliably retrieve a blood drop from fingers, as well as alternate sites, using a vacuum. Smart Meter’s iGlucose diabetes management system is a blood glucose sensor with built-in GSM connectivity. It is coupled with a web-based platform designed for the patient and healthcare provider, and its cell-signal connectivity allows people with diabetes to seamlessly share their blood glucose readings with others, according to the company.


available from its Pepto Bismol brand. The company recently introduced Pepto Diarrhea for diarrhea relief and Pepto Bismol Liquicaps, which P&G said offers a convenient delivery form for on-the-go consumers. New Pepto Diarrhea is formulated to simultaneously coat the stomach and kill any bacteria causing diarrhea, attacking it at the source, the company said. Pepto Bismol Liquicaps, which mark the first form innovation in the category in more than 25 years, are designed to offer the same relief as the original liquid formulation wherever symptoms may occur. “Under the name Bismosal, Pepto Bismol was first invented in the early 1900s to address a form of cholera that caused severe diarrhea. In 1919, the product name was changed to Pepto Bismol,” Ilonka Laviz, brand franchise director for North America digestive wellness at P&G, said. “After 100 years of expanding the relief to cover five symptoms, we are returning to our roots with the launch of a single-symptom product focused on diarrhea relief. Pepto Bismol has been a trusted product for tummy troubles for a century now, and with the introduction of Pepto Diarrhea and the Liquicap, we’re ensuring that there’s a Pepto for every consumer and every situation.”


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Skyn Unveils Two Personal Lubricants

Always, Tampax Launch Organic Period Products

LifeStyles Healthcare’s Skyn Condoms

Procter & Gamble’s two menstrual

brand is growing its lineup of personal lubricants. The brand recently introduced two personal lubricants — water-based Aqua Feel and silicone-based All Night Long. All Night Long is meant to be a longlasting lubricant, while Skyn Aqua Feel uses vitamin E and aloe vera to create a natural feeling the company said is meant to supplement the body’s natural lubrication. Skyn said the new products are responding to demands it heard from consumers in its Sex and Intimacy Survey, in which 37% of respondents asked for a water-based product and 35% wanted something long lasting. “Skyn is dedicated to developing products that enhance pleasure and understand our customers’ needs by providing them with the products they desire,” Jeyan Heper, CEO of LifeStyles, said “The addition of Skyn Aqua Feel and All Night Long personal lubricants is allowing us to diversify our product portfolio to offer consumers the tools needed for life’s most intimate moments.” The 2.7-fl.-oz. products are available nationwide in the drug, mass food and convenience channels, including Walgreens, Walmart and Shopper’s Drug Mart.

care brands, Always and Tampax, are bringing organic cotton to their latest offerings. Always Pure and Tampax Pure offer organic pads and tampons free of dyes, fragrances and chlorine bleaching, the company said. In speaking with thousands of tampon users in the last several years, it was clear that there was still a big unmet need in the natural menstrual category — an option that worked well,” said Amy Krajewski, section head of global Tampax research and development.“When we set out to create Tampax Pure, we took our time to develop a tampon that is not only made with a 100% organic cotton core, but that also provides Tampax protection.” P&G said the cotton in Tampax Pure is the brand’s first 100% organic cotton core tampon with an applicator composed of 90% plant-based material, and features

the brand’s LeakGuard Braid for backup protection from leaks. Always Pure pads have an organic cotton top sheet and a core made of absorbent wood cellulose and gel. As part of the rollout, for every sale of a specially marked Tampax Pure or Always Pure product, the company will donate one pad or tampon to those in need. The products currently are nationally available.

Dr Teal’s Introduces Aluminum-Free Deodorant Line Dr Teal’s is delving further into the personal care cate-

gory by introducing a new collection of aluminumfree deodorants. Formulated to protect against odor and absorb wetness throughout the day, its featured scents include coconut oil eucalyptus, lavender and charcoal. “Thanks to our proprietary formula that includes magnesium, arrowroot powder and baking soda, there is finally an aluminum-free option that is clinically proven to fight odor and absorb wetness all day,” Brad Essig, chief marketing officer at PDC Brands, said. In addition, Dr Teal’s Aluminum Free Deodorants are dermatologist tested, vegan, safe for sensitive skin, and free of aluminum, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. They are not tested on animals. Dr Teal’s Aluminum Free Deodorants are available at major retailers nationwide for the suggested retail price of $5.99 each.



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Nature’s Bounty’s New Supplements Target Sleep, Anxiety DRIVE -THRU

Nature’s Bounty’s latest launches are looking to help patients with anxiety, stress and sleeping issues. The company recently introduced three products — Nature’s Bounty Anxiety and Stress Relief, Nature’s Bounty Sleep3 and Nature’s Bounty Elderberry Gummies — that aim to help the 50% of people who told a recent NMI consumer study that they experience worse sleep now than they did 10 years ago, which half of these attributed to stress and anxiety. “Given the consumer need in these areas, our scientific teams used clinically studied ingredients and innovative delivery methods to develop items that specifically address these common wellness concerns,” said Don Kerrigan, president of North America at Nature’s Bounty. Nature’s Bounty Anxiety and Stress Relief contains L-theanine to support the brain’s mood centers and promote calm, as well as KSM-66 Ashwagandha, a clinically studied ingredient the meant to help support a healthy response to occasional stress and anxiety. Nature’s Bounty Sleep3 uses tri-layer release technology to facilitate relaxation, then sleep. Two immediate-release layers deliver melatonin, L-theanine and an herbal blend to help the consumer relax and fall asleep, while extended-release melatonin is delivered over time to help consumers stay asleep longer. The company’s Elderberry Gummies include 100 mg of elderberry per serving, as well as vitamins A, C, D and E, and zinc for immune and antioxidant support. The products currently are available at retailers nationwide and on Amazon.com.

Detroit Grooming Reformulates its Pomade Detroit Grooming, a men’s

Pharmacy Solutions


grooming brand known for its hair and body care, soaps and lotions, grooming and beard oils, among other products, announced updating the formula in its popular oil-based pomade. The product’s reformulation is based on a proprietary blending process that creates a smoother pomade with all the benefits of the original formula, the Ferndale, Mich.based company said. “Our popular Pomade features a creamier texture right out of the tin, making it easier for stylists and barbers to apply to their client’s hair,’ said Detroit Grooming

director of marketing and public relations Lou Lobsinger. “None of the original ingredients have changed, and it still comes in the lovable vanilla and honey scent.” What also has remained unchanged in the product is its shea butter and beeswax base, as well as other such ingredients as sweet almond oil, vitamin E, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil, the company said. Each pomade from the brand is made in the United States, contains a medium hold and natural shine finish, and comes packaged in a 3.4 oz. collectible tin that retails for $21.95.


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Curaleaf Launches CBD Pet Line Bido Curaleaf Holdings is expanding its reach

in CBD to include pets. The Wakefield, Mass.-based company has launched Bido, a line of hemp-based CBD products for pets, noting that third-party studies have found it supports pets’ wellness, pain management and anxiety. Bido’s offerings include pet drops and soft-baked bites. The drops are available in bacon, salmon and unflavored varieties, while the soft-baked bites are offered in apple chicken, peanut butter bacon and honey sweet potato flavors. The company said it developed Bido using 100% natural, U.S.-grown hemp. “Our human customers are already reaping the benefits of CBD with Curaleaf Hemp,” Curaleaf president and CEO Jose Lusardi said. “The same care and research went into the development of Bido. We are excited to be extending our high quality, trusted products to pet owners. The launch of Bido is just one more way we are the most accessible cannabis company in the United States.” Bido, which can be purchased on Curaleaf’s website, joins the company’s CBD brands, including CBD Hemp, which offers lotions, patches, oils and disposable vape pens, all of which are infused with essential oils.


Sally Hansen’s Pride Collection Supports GLAAD Sally Hansen is showing its sup-

port for LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD, with the unveiling of its Pride Collection, which features a rainbow of bold Xtreme Wear Shades. In addition, Sally Hansen’s Pride Collection will partner with Ulta Beauty to offer the nail polishes in limited-edition packaging, exclusive gift sets and dedicated in-store displays for Pride Month in order to promote LGBTQ acceptance. “We are honored to partner with GLAAD on this special collection, to support their important work and to celebrate Pride in a colorful and meaningful way,” Celia Tombalakian, vice president of Sally Hansen global and U.S. marketing at Coty, said. “With this rainbow collection, we offer a way for all to show their pride on their nails.” Sally Hansen also has donated to GLAAD’s work to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance, and create a world where everyone is able to express themselves freely, the company said.

“The new Sally Hansen collection brings a powerful message of inclusion that will shine bright in stores all over,” Zeke Stokes, GLAAD’s chief programs officer, said. “As a trusted brand that is beloved by generations, Sally Hansen’s message of self-expression is one to be proud of during Pride Month and all year long.” The six shades that make up the collection include: • Pucker Up, an “all eyes on me” red; • Sunkissed, a bright, citrus-y orange shade; • Mellow Yellow, a sunshine shade; • Pine Shine, a knockout green; • Pacific Blue, a vibrant blue; and • Rockstar Pink, a purple with shimmery sparkles. Sally Hansen’s Pride Collection retails for $2.99 per bottle and is available at Ulta Beauty and Walgreens. There also is a special Pride Collection gift set that contains six shades, retails for $16.99 and is exclusive to Ulta Beauty.


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Head of the Class Highlighting new products from a recent ECRM EPPS By Seth Mendelson


t the recent ECRM Skin Care, Bath, Cosmetics and Natural Beauty EPPS, companies shared new products coming down the pike. These are DSN’s picks of attention-grabbing items from the show.

SKY ORGANICS INTRODUCES CBD LINE You want products with CBD in them? Well, officials at Sky Organics, a Miamibased company, said they are offering a 20-SKU line of products that feature a high concentration of CBD that is quite potent. The line features items in the beauty, specialty bath, hair care and skin care segments. Products are priced between $15 and $30. “The concentration of CBD in our products is quite potent,” Dean Neiger, vice president of business development and co-founder of the company, said. “We offer value and transparency to the consumer and give them a product that will get the job done for them.”

HEALING SOLUTIONS FOCUSES ON FULL TRANSPARENCY Officials at Healing Solutions have their bases covered, offering a product that already is well known by consumers and can offer a point of differentiation for retailers.


The Phoenix-based company, founded in 2014, has established a substantial business by creating brand equity with consumers looking for high quality, 100% pure and natural, essential oil products at prices 30%-to-50% less than other quality brands. “Consumers love our brand, which is why we’ve become the top selling essential oil brand on Amazon,” said Jason Kern, the company’s executive vice president, sales and marketing. “The good news for retailers, as we expand into more traditional brick and mortar channels, is that we have an existing and extremely loyal fan base, having sold our products into 88% of U.S. zip codes.” Building upon this success, the company is launching USDA-certified organic rollons and sprays in September. Both lines will be sold individually and in three packs, with suggested retail pricing of $6 and $10 respectively. Kern says, “Our position on Amazon, where we have strict and enforceable MAP pricing, allows us to measure real-time consumer demand. So although roll-ons and sprays have been around for a couple years, we are just now starting to see consumer adoption reach the point where

it makes sense for retailers to dedicate shelf space to these types of products.” According to Kern, one of the company’s key differentiation points is the lengths to which the company goes to ensure the quality and consistency of its product. “In addition to operating a USDA-certified organic facility, as far we know, we are the only U.S. essential oil manufacturer to have in-house GC-MS testing capability,” he said. “This allows our quality team to test all of our oils real-time, so we know what goes into each and every bottle we sell, which for an organically derived product, is very important.”


Urban Hydration is introducing the Bright & Balance Aloe Vera Leaf line. Officials at the Frisco, Texas-based company said the six SKUs in the line are designed to attract consumers interested in natural and organic beauty products. The line is made up of a gel, daily gel moisturizer, face cleansers, spot cream, face toner and face wash. Each has a suggested retail price of $9.99. “We are offering a line of products that feature clean ingredients with no artificial colors,” Psyche Terry, the company’s founder, said. “More and more consumers are looking for these types of items. It satisfies their needs and helps retailers give these types of shoppers what they are looking for.” dsn


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Application Applicationsite sitereactions reactionscan canoccur occurduring duringor orimmediately immediatelyafter after treatment treatmentwith withZTLIDO. ZTLIDO.This Thismay mayinclude includedevelopment developmentofofblisters, blisters, bruising, bruising,burning burningsensation, sensation,depigmentation, depigmentation,dermatitis, dermatitis,discoloration, discoloration, edema, edema,erythema, erythema,exfoliation, exfoliation,irritation, irritation,papules, papules,petechia, petechia,pruritus, pruritus, vesicles, vesicles,orormay maybe bethe thelocus locusofofabnormal abnormalsensation. sensation.These Thesereactions reactions are aregenerally generallymild mildand andtransient, transient,resolving resolvingspontaneously spontaneouslywithin withinaafew few minutes minutestotohours. hours.Inform Informpatients patientsofofthese thesepotential potentialreactions reactionsand andthat that severe severeskin skinirritation irritationmay mayoccur occurwith withZTLIDO ZTLIDOififapplied appliedfor foraalonger longer period periodthan thaninstructed. instructed. Hypersensitivity Hypersensitivitycross-reactions cross-reactionsmay maybe bepossible possiblefor forpatients patients allergic allergicto toPABA PABAderivatives. derivatives.Manage Managehypersensitivity hypersensitivityreactions reactionsby by conventional conventionalmeans. means. Eye Eyeexposure exposurewith withZTLIDO ZTLIDOshould shouldbe beavoided. avoided.IfIfeye eyecontact contactoccurs, occurs, immediately immediatelywash washout outthe theeye eyewith withwater waterororsaline salineand andprotect protectthe theeye eye (such (suchas, as,eye eyeglasses/eye glasses/eyewear) wear)until untilsensation sensationreturns. returns. Adverse AdverseReactions Reactions Side Sideeffects effectsofofZTLIDO ZTLIDOinclude includeapplication applicationsite sitereactions reactionssuch suchas, as, irritation, irritation,erythema, erythema,and andpruritus. pruritus.These Theseare arenot notall allofofthe theadverse adverse reactions reactionsthat thatmay mayoccur. occur.Please Pleasesee seefull fullPrescribing PrescribingInformation Informationfor for more moreinformation. information. Use UseininSpecific SpecificPopulations Populations Use UseofofZTLIDO ZTLIDOduring duringlactation lactationshould shouldbe beused usedwith withcaution cautionasas lidocaine lidocaineisisexcreted excretedinto intobreast breastmilk. milk.The Thelimited limitedhuman humandata datawith with lidocaine lidocaineininpregnant pregnantwomen womenare arenot notsufficient sufficienttotoinform informdrugdrugassociated associatedrisk riskfor formajor majorbirth birthdefects defectsand andmiscarriage. miscarriage. To Toreport reportSUSPECTED SUSPECTEDADVERSE ADVERSEREACTIONS, REACTIONS, contact contactSCILEX SCILEXPharmaceuticals PharmaceuticalsInc. Inc.atat1-866-SCILEX3 1-866-SCILEX3or orcontact contact FDA FDAatat1-800-FDA-1088 1-800-FDA-1088or orwww.fda.gov/medwatch. www.fda.gov/medwatch. Please Pleasesee seebrief briefsummary summaryofoffull fullPrescribing PrescribingInformation Informationon onthe the following followingpage. page. References: References:1.1.Data Dataon onfile. file.SCILEX SCILEXPharmaceuticals PharmaceuticalsInc. Inc.2.2.ZTLIDO ZTLIDO(lidocaine (lidocainetopical topicalsystem) system) 1.8% 1.8%[Prescribing [PrescribingInformation]. Information].SCILEX SCILEXPharmaceuticals PharmaceuticalsInc. Inc.2018. 2018. ®® ®® SCILEX SCILEX and andZTLIDO ZTLIDO are areregistered registered trademarks trademarksofofSCILEX SCILEXPharmaceuticals PharmaceuticalsInc. Inc. All Allother othertrademarks trademarksare arethe theproperty property ofoftheir theirrespective respectiveowners. owners. ©©2019 2019SCILEX SCILEXPharmaceuticals PharmaceuticalsInc. Inc. All Allrights rightsreserved. reserved.ZTL-00131 ZTL-0013102/19 02/19

ZTLIDO® (lidocaine topical system) Rx only Brief Summary: This information is not comprehensive. Visit www.ZTlido.com/hcp to obtain the FDA-approved product labeling or call 1-866-SCILEX3 (1-866-724-5393). INDICATIONS AND USAGE ZTLIDO contains lidocaine, an amide local anesthetic, and is indicated for relief of pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION Apply up to three topical systems only once for up to 12 hours in a 24-hour period. CONTRAINDICATIONS Contraindicated in patients with a known history of sensitivity to local anesthetics of the amide type, or to any other component of the product. WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS Accidental Exposure Even a used ZTLIDO topical system contains residual lidocaine after use. A small child or pet may suffer serious effects from chewing or ingesting a new or used ZTLIDO. It is important for patients to store and dispose of ZTLIDO properly and keep out of the reach of children, pets, and others. Excessive Dosing/Overexposure The following may contribute to higher blood concentration of lidocaine, leading to adverse effects: longer duration of application; application of more than the recommended number of ZTLIDO; smaller patients; hepatically-impaired patients; use on non-intact skin; or applying heat sources to ZTLIDO. Methemoglobinemia Cases of methemoglobinemia have been reported in association with local anesthetic use. Signs may occur immediately or may be delayed some hours after exposure and are characterized by a cyanotic skin discoloration and/or abnormal coloration of the blood. Discontinue ZTLIDO and any other oxidizing agents. Application Site Reactions During or immediately after treatment with ZTLIDO, application site reactions may develop including blisters, bruising, burning sensation, depigmentation, dermatitis, discoloration, edema, erythema, exfoliation, irritation, papules, petechia, pruritus, vesicles, or may be the locus of abnormal sensation. Inform patients that severe skin irritation may occur with ZTLIDO if applied for a longer period than recommended. Hypersensitivity Reactions Cross sensitivity to ZTLIDO in patients with a history of drug sensitivity to para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) derivatives is possible. Eye Exposure Immediately wash out the eye with water or saline and protect the eye until sensation returns. ADVERSE REACTIONS The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in more detail elsewhere in the labeling: • Methemoglobinemia • Application Site Reactions • Hypersensitivity Reactions

The following adverse reactions from voluntary reports or clinical studies have been reported with lidocaine. Because some of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. Skin and subcutaneous tissues: blisters, bruising, burning sensation, depigmentation, dermatitis, discoloration, edema, erosions, erythema, exfoliation, flushing, irritation, papules, petechia, pruritus, vesicles, and abnormal sensation. Immune system: angioedema, bronchospasm, dermatitis, dyspnea, hypersensitivity, laryngospasm, pruritus, shock, and urticaria. Central Nervous System: lightheadedness, nervousness, apprehension, euphoria, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, tinnitus, blurred or double vision, sensations of heat, cold or numbness, twitching, tremors, convulsions, unconsciousness, somnolence, respiratory depression and arrest. Cardiovascular: bradycardia, hypotension, and cardiovascular collapse leading to arrest. Other: asthenia, disorientation, headache, hyperesthesia, hypoesthesia, metallic taste, nausea, pain exacerbated, paresthesia, taste alteration, and vomiting. DRUG INTERACTIONS Drugs That May Cause Methemoglobinemia When Used with ZTLIDO Patients who are administered local anesthetics may be at increased risk of developing methemoglobinemia when concurrently exposed to the following drug classes: nitrates/ nitrites; local anesthetics; antineoplastic agents; antibiotics; antimalarials; anticonvulsants; other drugs (e.g., acetaminophen, metoclopramide, quinine). Antiarrhythmic Drugs When ZTLIDO is used in patients receiving Class I antiarrhythmic drugs (such as tocainide and mexiletine), the toxic effects are additive and potentially synergistic. Consider risk/benefit during concomitant use. Local Anesthetics When ZTLIDO is used concomitantly with other products containing local anesthetic agents, the effects are additive. Consider the amount of drug absorbed from all formulations when local anesthetic agents are administered concomitantly. OVERDOSAGE Lidocaine overdose from cutaneous absorption is rare but could occur. If there is any suspicion of lidocaine overdose, check drug blood concentration. The management of overdose includes close monitoring, supportive care, and symptomatic treatment. Dialysis is of negligible value in the treatment of acute overdose with lidocaine.

This brief summary is based on ZTLIDO prescribing information revised November 2018. ZTL-00118 01/19 Manufactured for: Scilex Pharmaceuticals Inc. San Diego, CA 92121 USA SCILEX® and ZTLIDO® are registered trademarks of Scilex Pharmaceuticals Inc. © 2019 Scilex Pharmaceuticals Inc. All rights reserved.


NACDS TSE: Work It and Succeed Being prepared is a crucial element of success for this conference By Steve Anderson

W Steve Anderson, president and CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores


ho says NACDS’ public policy agenda and the NACDS Total Store Expo do not share things in common? One similarity stands out. In public policy, NACDS urges strategies to help patients take medications as prescribed — the only way to derive their benefits. Likewise, in presenting the NACDS TSE, NACDS urges participants to leverage all of the resources that guide conference preparation, which proves key to success. Make no mistake, signing up for a conference and not preparing have a lot in common with receiving a prescription but not taking it. The need to prepare is paramount for any business meeting. However, failure to do so at NACDS TSE is particularly tragic because the opportunities are so unique and bountiful, and because tremendous resources exist to help participants operationalize their preparation. The exhibitors who prepare early and thoroughly find themselves booked with productive meetings throughout the event, and they find themselves ready to make the most of these meetings. Those who do so make up the majority of attendees, which is why reports of success are enthusiastic and widespread, and why such a high number of exhibitors return year after year. Still, we hear the stories of those who forgo the opportunities. I talked with an industry veteran who graciously serves as a mentor for first-time NACDS TSE attendees. He said that one of his mentees last year — a new exhibitor — did not contact him, and did not return calls. Maybe the new exhibitor did not realize the decades of experience that this individual had earned in the industry and in collaboration with NACDS. To prepare, exhibitors should start here: • Thoroughly use all of the features and information contained on the NACDS TSE website, tse.NACDS.org; • Examine the list of participating retailer and exhibitor companies; • Use the Exhibitor Dashboard on the NACDS

TSE website to maintain your company’s portal and track leads, and schedule appointments; • Follow the model collaborative meeting agenda, also online, to set a mutually beneficial agenda with those whom you will meet; • Benefit from the online “My TSE” feature that identifies retailer attendees who are most relevant to your company; • Follow the “Guide to Success” document — developed by the NACDS Retail Advisory Board — to benefit from the mistakes and victories of those who have been at this for years; • Hit every target date and check every box in the exhibit planning process; and • Participate in webinars that present truly valuable insights about how to prepare thoroughly. Also, many opportunities exist for retailers to think of new ways to take their results to the next level at the NACDS TSE: • The event presents a unique chance for purchasing managers to coach buyers in advance, and on site. Managers can take an intentional approach to observing, and coaching, their buyers’ interactions with new vendors, new items and existing vendors of different sizes and strategic capabilities; • The retailers who report the greatest levels of success are those who maintain high levels of accessibility to buyers. This particularly is important for discovering the first-time exhibitors and their new products; and • The unique format and attendee base of the NACDS TSE are ideal for cross-departmental and inter-company teams to find new ways to meet consumers’ needs. Preparing also means getting oneself into the mindset that the entire NACDS TSE stands as a tremendous opportunity to build a network and benefit the company. Every networking event and every aspect of the schedule can help lead to the next win. The bottom line is this: Commit to attending the NACDS TSE and commit to engaging in it with gusto to achieve the extraordinary opportunities for success that it presents. dsn


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Que Sera Sera Sera Labs looks to make its name in CBD with a focus on skin benefits and prices


era Labs is a CBD company that founder and CEO Nancy Duitch said originated on one premise: using science to bring premium products to market. The femalerun, Los Angeles-based company began in 2018 and already has generated roughly $5 million in sales. Drug Store News caught up with Duitch, who has a wide background in the direct-to-consumer marketing arena, to discuss how Sera Labs is making a name for itself in CBD. Drug Store News: How did the company get its start, and what is your focus in CBD? Nancy Duitch: Throughout my career, I have been involved in the beauty, health and wellness spaces. Not only do I have a love for products that make you feel better, look better and help you become the best you possible, but I have always made sure there was a value proposition for the consumer. The company is strategically focused on creating the highest quality, premium CBD formulas at affordable prices. Our family of products include the Seratopical premium CBD beauty line, SeraRelief wellness CBD tinctures, pain cream, capsules, gummies; and a veterinarian-recommended Sera Pets CBD oil. We also have control of our product from start to shipment. Sera Labs works exclusively with GMP-certified manufacturing, all products are guaranteed and made in the USA. Our ingestibles use the highest quality CBD from our organically grown and harvested CBD hemp. Additionally, we pride ourselves on customer education, transparency of Certificates of Analysis and third-party testing to ensure purity and consistency. DSN: You have a personal story about getting into the CBD market. How does it help you market to consumers? ND: My “why” is very personal as I lost both


my brother and sister in their twenties to a genetic heart condition called Long QT syndrome, which our family didn’t know about until their deaths. I also inherited this deadly disorder and have been on beta blockers for the past 28 years. Therefore, I have taken care of myself using the best natural health-and-wellness products, as well as high-end skin care products, due to the fact I couldn’t have any elective surgery for fear I could pass away from my heart arrhythmia. After years of wasting money on department store skin care, I decided to jump in and develop my own skin care line, and successfully developed four major skin care lines that generated revenue in excess of $700 million. When I heard about CBD and what it could do for your skin, I immediately began researching how to incorporate CBD in our exclusive proven formulas, which has a number of ingredient clinical studies. Not only was the product amazing for aging skin, but it also worked on acne and other skin problems. I then decided to add this into all of our product lines in order to help others with health issues similar to myself. Sera Labs was born from a personal issue and is now going national into multiple channels of distribution.

needs to understand that there are no psychoactives in Sera Labs CBD products, so you won’t get high. DSN: What makes your company unique? ND: Our seasoned team in product development, top-notch operations and retail professionals, with years of experience that know how to leverage their marketing ability and drive consumers to the store is unparalleled. Sera Labs is committed to investing heavily in advertising and marketing to ensure store sell through for our retail partners. DSN: What does the future look like? ND: Bright! Our Seratopical premium beauty skin care line, comprised of the most comprehensive antiaging ingredients, will be available at retail locations nationwide. dsn Nancy Duitch, founder and CEO, Sera Labs

DSN: So how does the retailer react to this in store? ND: At Sera Labs, our No. 1 goal is to educate consumers. We have a wellness and educational ambassador program that goes out to communities and focuses on retail locations by educating store personnel in order to increase awareness and the truth about CBD. Sera Labs has also formed a medical advisory board and commissioned the book “CBD: From Killer Weed to Miracle Molecule” that tells you everything you need and want to know about CBD. Everyone


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Feeding the Big Cat in Your Center Store Wet cat food promotes healthy, happy cats and feeds incremental sales in the pet aisle A conversation with Joe Toscano, vice president/director of trade and industry development at Nestlé Purina North America


here are a number of reasons why the 94 million cats in U.S. households are finding more wet food in their dish these days. First off, cat parents are learning about the health benefits of feeding cats wet food, as it ensures the cat is well hydrated and also provides high-quality protein to support lean muscles. Secondly, cats naturally crave a range of flavors and textures, many of which are closer to how their ancestors ate in nature. All of these factors lead to 62% of cat food buyers adding wet cat food to their shopping lists.

So why should merchants care?

Wet cat food is currently the third-fastest-growing segment within the pet food category, and it’s expected to grow nearly 7% over each of the next three years. And sales tend to be incremental, with 54% of shoppers purchasing both dry and wet cat food, according to Nielsen Purchase Behavior Summary for the year ended October 2016. Wet cat food households also make 12.6 trips and spend an average of $105 on wet cat food over the course of the year. That’s compared to 6.5 trips and $82 spent per year by dry cat food shoppers, according to Nielsen Homescan data for the year ended December 2017.

How can you feed incremental sales in the pet aisle?

1. Much like the animals they care for, wet cat food shoppers are looking for variety. Cats instinctually crave variety, and with a recent Pet Attitude Tracker survey finding 82% of owners considering their cat an important member of their family, these pet parents are answering the call. Variety of inventory is actually the top consideration when wet cat food shoppers choose a retailer, with 1-in-5 shoppers leaving the store if their retailer doesn’t offer the variety they are looking for, according to Cat rQFD and Walk Rates Research. Wet cat food shoppers not only are looking for variety of flavors and forms, but also package size and price tiers. Currently, many wet cat food sections are only 8 feet. Expanding to 12 feet allows retailers to dramatically increase their assortment and sheer presence in wet cat food. 2. Feed increased consumption through larger variety packs and multiples pricing. Ongoing promotion on larger wet cat food variety packs and higher multiples pricing, i.e. 10 or 20 of are key. The larger the multiple, the higher potential purchase from your


shoppers. With 46% of wet cat feeders wishing they could feed wet cat food to their pets more often, larger variety packs in multiples of 32 or 40 count are up 3.6% and driving growth in the segment. Variety packs and multiples pricing drive more units per trip and ultimately move more units per year. 3. Emphasize new opportunities for cat owners to feed wet. Feeding wet cat food is not only good for cats, but it allows owners to connect with their pets. There is a new trend towards wet cat compliments and treats like Fancy Feast Broths and Fillets, which provide new feeding occasions for cats and the people who love them. Consider featuring these products on an endcap as a basket builder. With the increased consumer awareness around the benefits of wet cat food and the strong bond between owners and their varietyseeking companions, the wet cat food market is primed for growth over the next several years. What are you doing now to capitalize on this trend in your store? Are you featuring 12 feet of the wet cat food varieties your shoppers are demanding? Using these simple strategies can feed incremental sales in your pet aisle for years to come.


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UNSCENTED ............................................. FREE OF FRAGRANCES




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Purina trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. Printed in USA.



6/17/19 12:38 PM


Building on a Strong Foundation High Ridge Brands focuses on innovation to catapult legacy brands into the future By Seth Mendelson


an High Ridge Brands tap into the consumer’s increasing demand for more quality personal care items at affordable prices? Patricia Lopez, the Stamford, Conn.-based company’s president and CEO, is banking on the fact that more demand for reasonably priced, high-quality merchandise will help this fledgling company become a much larger player in the mass retail world. While High Ridge offers 13 different brands of hair


care, oral care and skin care products, Lopez seems focused on expanding its current portfolio of value brands with brands that are on trend and helping pump up sales and profits. The goal: Draw more interest from both retailers and consumers. The company’s brands include Thicker Fuller Hair, a four-SKU line that was reintroduced to the retail world with new packaging and formulations in January, and SGX NYC, a 12-SKU hair care line that was launched in January. The company also recently


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introduced Sonic toothbrushes through its Firefly brand and additional Zest body wash products. They join a family of brands that include the iconic VO5 hair care products, as well as Coast soaps. The High Ridge family also includes White Rain body wash, LA Looks, Zero Frizz and Rave hair care lines, and a number of oral care products like Reach, Dr. Fresh and Binaca. “It is all about creating value for consumers and we know that can only be done by offering them products that perform better than anything they can find at mass stores, but do it at mass pricing,” said Lopez, who joined the company in July 2017 after a twoyear stint at Estée Lauder, a two-year term as chief marketing officer at Avon Products and 25 years at Procter & Gamble, where she spent about two years working out of the Moscow, Russia office. “We look at the trends in the marketplace, and it’s quite clear that consumers want prestige products, but at mass price points. What we are doing is offering value by crafting an extraordinary experience for consumers.” Of course, there is more to the High Ridge Brands strategy than just this. Formed in 2010 when it acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to the Zest brand from P&G, the company — now under its current ownership with the private equity company Clayton, Dubilier & Rice — put together a hodge-podge of “orphaned” consumer brands that often did not have a place at other operations. Some of these brands like VO5 have a loyal following, but often price points that are on the low end of the spectrum, resulting in significant unit sales but low profits. “Frankly, our sales have been declining for some time because we were not offering consumers brands that are on trend and with the level of innovation our consumers are looking for,” Lopez said. “We see the new products in the Thicker Fuller Hair and SGX lines as a way to say to consumers that we are offering merchandise that is at least equal to the quality of prestige brands at mass prices, though they are priced at the higher end of the mass spectrum, they perform equal to a $50 prestige brand.”

“What we are doing is offering value by crafting an extraordinary experience for consumers.” — Patricia Lopez, High Ridge Brands president and CEO The SGX line includes texturizers, dry shampoo, curl enhancing, finishing and styling oil products. The Thicker Fuller Hair line features a four-step scalp-care routine, including a shampoo, conditioner, root-lifting serum and a “nourishing” daily scalp tonic. Plus, Lopez said, the company, with about 100 employees, did its homework in terms of innovation and developing new items. “Our research and development team really put their heart and souls into these new items to make sure they are unique and offer the consumer the best experience,” she said. “We hired the right specialists to help us develop these brands and to make sure we are addressing the issues consumers want us to address.” An example of this is the Firefly sonic toothbrushes — which delivers 14,000 vibrations per minute with a very soft bristle for gentle effective clean — compares to a $40 product, Lopez said. Educating the consumer is an important part of the company’s strategy. Lopez said High Ridge Brands has embarked on a full public relations campaign for both Thicker Fuller Hair and SGX NYC, and is targeting those all-important beauty and personal care influencers, who are making a difference with younger consumers. “We are well aware that we need to differentiate our brands, and we need to explain to consumers what they are paying for,” she said. “But we also believe that consumers will quickly pick up on what we are doing and will see the benefits of these products and the big difference in pricing, which can be as much as 70% less than a product that is of equal or less quality that is offered at prestige stores.” The plan is to double the size of the company over the next five years, she said, through a combination of acquisitions and new launches in areas where there is a potential niche. The oral care division, based in La Palma, Calif., is growing significantly. Firefly is the market leader in the children’s oral segment. A big part of the growth is a result of great products that make healthy habits fun, combined with the best licenses. A great example is Firefly LOLlicensed product, which Lopez said is flying off retail shelves. “We have a number of great licenses, including the Avengers, Lion King, Barbie, Star Wars and Hello Kitty, that are helping us build interest with consumers and sales,” Lopez said. In the end, it appears that High Ridge’s strategy is to pick its spots for future growth. “Our thesis is to first stabilize what we already own and also bring in new innovation that will create excitement in the marketplace,” Lopez said. “Then we will grow through acquisition where it makes the most sense, as well as use our lean corporate nature to do in one year what other, larger companies take three or four years to accomplish. I think you will be hearing a lot of good things about High Ridge in the years to come.” dsn


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Hamacher Resource Group’s Picks from May A look at four potential big sellers

his year, April showers brought a host of products in May that Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team scoured to find potentially big sellers. Last month, the team sifted through 153 new products to find four that stood out, evaluating 111 wellness products, 32 beauty products and 10 OTC products in the process.


with such conditions as runner’s knee and osteoarthritis, as well as general knee pain. The product uses the brand’s Shock Guard technology to reduce impact associated with movement to absorb pain-inducing shock, transition weight and distribute pressure. It can be worn with casual shoes, sneakers, work boots and dress shoes, the company said.



Primatene Mist Epinephrine Inhalation Spray


Skyn Get Fresh Intimate Refreshing and Cleansing Wipes

e.p.t Numeric Digital Ovulation Test

NFI Consumer’s e.p.t family planning line has grown to include the e.p.t. Numeric Digital Ovulation Test. The product allows users to better understand their LH surge and ovulation window, offering a numeric view and basic YES+/NO- ovulation testing technology. The ovulation test is sold as a reader, with 10 cartridges to help monitor and record LH levels beginning a few days before the onset of menstruation to help users identify the pattern of their LH curve to improve timing when trying to conceive.


Dr. Scholl’s Knee Pain Orthotics for Men



Bayer’s Dr. Scholl’s brand has focused its latest product on providing relief to people with knee pain. The Dr. Scholl’s Knee Pain Orthotics are insoles that offer all-day relief from pain associated

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Amphastar Pharmaceuticals has revived its Primatene Mist, the only FDA-approved OTC asthma inhaler. The product uses epinephrine as an active ingredient to temporarily relieve mild symptoms of asthma in patients 12 years old and older. The new version is CFCfree, using hydrofluoroalkane propellants, and features a built-in spray indicator and metal canister. It contains 160 metered sprays. Lifestyles Healthcare’s sexual wellness brand Skyn is continuing to diversify beyond condoms and personal lubrication. The latest addition is a 10-count pack of Get Fresh Intimate Refreshing and Cleansing Wipes. The product is formulated with shea butter and provitamin B5 to offer gentle moisturizing. dsn

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PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show

Store BrandsMake Things Happen Wizards beware. PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show is coming. The biggest show ever. Buyers from supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers and online retailers. All major product categories. Food and beverages, health and wellness, cosmetics and beauty, household and kitchenware. Plus, more organic and natural exhibitors. Find out more about how your company can take advantage of PLMA’s great annual event. Telephone (212) 972-3131 or email exhibit@plma.com

Nov.17-19 • Chicago Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association Visit www.plma.com

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Advocating for Hemp Industry experts shared their views with the FDA at a recent public hearing By Seth Mendelson


peakers, including manufacturers, retailers, industry experts and even patients, called on the Food and Drug Administration to provide clarity, regulations and consumer education on the fledgling CBD and hemp categories at a much-anticipated public hearing in late May. The hearing, which attracted an overflow crowd of more than 700 people, as well as nationwide media attention, took place at the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. The regulator is considering what steps it may want to take with CBD and hemp after the 2018 Farm Bill essentially moved the debate on these categories into their domain. The FDA, as it normally does on such issues, is asking the public, as well as industry experts, to give their opinions on what to do with the category, which has captured the attention of many consumers and businesses in recent years. Some industry officials have said that CBD and hemp sales could reach $22 billion annually in just two or three years. At the same time, industry officials said that more than 4,000 companies across the country already are producing CBD or hemp products, and the category needs much tighter regulations. The mass retail industry was wellrepresented at the hearing, with officials from the Food Marketing Association and Consumer Healthcare Products Association, among others, speaking up on the subject. Megan Olsen, representing the Council for Responsible Nutrition, called on fast action from the FDA, saying that without federal government oversight, CBD and hemp would be a category out of control. “We urge them to use their authority as quickly as possible,” she said. David Spangler, senior vice president of policy and general counsel at the Consumer


Healthcare Products Association, called on the FDA to increase enforcement of the category. “First, the FDA speaks frequently about three priorities for both OTC medicines and supplements: public safety; product quality; and informed consumers,” he said. “We share these priorities and agree they apply to hemp-derived and CBD products. Second, we support the status quo for medicines. The existing new drug approval process provides a pathway for sponsors to develop data to bring cannabis-derived products to market once shown safe and effective.” He also said that he sees the intense consumer and commercial interest in CBD and hemp-derived products more broadly. “But with little regulatory oversight, the marketplace offers a vast array of products of varying degrees of quality, an array of unapproved drug claims, and, in some cases, fraudulent products,” Spangler said. “While FDA is charting a course forward, enforcement should increase. For instance, more consumer

alerts, and follow-up enforcement actions would be important steps.” Finally, Spangler said that beyond enforcement, dietary supplements need a path to bring CBD-containing products to market, and one way to do that is for FDA to exercise its authority to exempt forms of CBD from the prior-IND/prior new drug approval exception in the law’s dietary supplement definition. CBD and hemp manufacturers also were calling on quick FDA action. For example, Maureen West, the general counsel and compliance officer at Functional Remedies, said that her company aggressively is calling for strong FDA oversight. “We want clear regulations and clarifications, so we can meet and exceed dose standards,” she told DSN during the meeting. “We want the government to provide the standards for consumer protection on everything from the manufacturing process to labeling on the package. It is a very important issue now, especially as this category gets ready to explode on the market.” dsn


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Supply and CBDemand Hemp product innovation keeps the category clicking By David Salazar

HempMeds’ Everyday Wellness Line

Charlotte’s Web’s CBD Gummies One of the elder statesmen of the CBD category, Charlotte’s Web is growing the options consumers have for CBD delivery and getting in on a big trend. Transparency Market Research estimates the market for gummy vitamins will hit $4.17 billion by 2025, and with three varieties of gummies —Calm, Recovery and Sleep —Charlotte’s Web is aiming for a piece of that pie. “Our customers have been asking for gummies, and we are excited to bring this new format to our product portfolio,” Deanie Elsner, CEO of the Boulder, Colo.-based company, said. “When developing this product line, our product sciences team wanted to ensure that our gummies would be differentiated and thoughtfully formulated to be as effective as possible.” The raspberry-flavored Sleep gummy contains 3 mg of melatonin in addition to CBD to support restful sleep; lemon lime-flavored Calm contains 75 mg of lemon balm and 50 mg of L-theanine, alongside CBD; and the ginger-flavored Recovery includes 25 mg of ginger and 50 mg of turmeric curcuminoids to support healthy inflammatory response and promote joint strength. Each gummy contains 10 mg of the company’s whole-plant hemp extract.

HempMeds, a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana, the first publicly traded cannabis company in the United States, is introducing a line of functional CBD wellness offerings called Everyday Wellness. The four-product line, designed to offer such benefits as healthy digestion optimization, immune system support and sleep pattern regulation, includes a multivitamin offering in gummy form. “We’re very excited to offer these new functional CBD supplements to help our customers find the wellness support they need to achieve health and happiness,” HempMeds’ president Todd Morrow said. “We are dedicated to listening to our consumers’ needs, and designed this line of supplements with a careful selection of powerful natural ingredients, including our CBD, to add daily value to their health in a convenient and practical way.” Each product in the line contains 15 mg of CBD. Functional ingredients include digestive enzymes, vitamin D3, vitamin E and peppermint in Digestive Support; turmeric and vitamin C in Immune Support; passionflower, L-tryptophan and chamomile in Sleep Support; and vitamins A, C, D3 and E, plus folic acid and calcium in the Multivitamin Support product. The Everyday Wellness products each retail at $59.99 for 30-count bottles.

CBDfx Face Masks Los Angeles-based CBDfx is highlighting how CBD can be applied to skin care with its latest product, CBD Face Masks, which offer a skin care option for hemp consumers. Each face mask contains 20 mg of the company’s broad-spectrum hemp formula and are formulated with active botanicals and essential oils meant to help nourish and repair skin. Using the masks can help hydrate, balance and brighten skin in 10 minutes, the company said. It also cited recent research in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which found that CBD appears to help reduce inflammation glands that generate sebum, which can block pores and cause acne. The masks are available in five varieties — cucumber, rose, lavender, charcoal and aloe vera.



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A Path to the Future Rite Aid has its eyes on the horizon as it moves forward


s the company begins a new era, there’s no doubt that Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid has seen its share of peaks and valleys over the past several years. Early in the decade, the nation’s third-largest drug store chain engineered a massive turnaround driven by its Wellness+ Rewards loyalty program, expanded clinical pharmacy services and the innovative Wellness store format. By 2015, Rite Aid’s strong performance attracted a $9-per-share offer from fellow drug store chain Walgreens Boots Alliance to create a global leader in health and wellness. After an extended regulatory review process, the proposed merger was terminated, and Rite Aid pivoted by selling more than 1,900 stores to Walgreens to improve its balance sheet and create a smaller, more profitable network of stores. Then, after the


company reached a deal to merge with Albertsons and create a leading food, health-and-wellness enterprise, the transaction did not gain the widespread support it needed from Rite Aid shareholders, who wanted to see the company move forward as a standalone entity. That’s all yesterday’s news, according to the people who run the 57-year-old company, which registered $21.6 billion in annual sales in its latest fiscal year across its remaining 2,469 stores located in Michigan, Ohio, the northeastern quadrant of the country, and along the West Coast, especially California, where it operates 541 units. These officials, including CEO John Standley and COO Bryan Everett, said that the company has been reenergized by the prospect of turning its complete attention toward driving innovation,


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From left; John Standley, CEO; Bryan Everett, COO; Jocelyn Konrad, executive vice president of pharmacy and retail operations; Bill Renz, senior vice president of category management; and Justin Mennen, senior vice president and chief information officer

delivering new and unique customer experiences, and, ultimately, growing its business. “Yes, we are a smaller company than we were just a few years ago,” said Standley, a two-decade veteran of the company who plans to leave Rite Aid when the company’s board of directors names a new CEO. “But, we also look at ourselves as a more flexible and nimble company that can quickly and easily get the things done that can put us on the right track.” Everett, a four-year Rite Aid veteran, said “We are very excited about the opportunities in front of us. We intend to move fast and pivot quickly on the strategies needed to stand out with consumers, as well as maintaining the trust and support of our associates and our supplier partners. We also know that this is not going to be an easy path. We have to continue to navigate complicated industry dynamics and appeal to a consumer who has higher expectations today than ever before. We know we can do it, but we also know that we must be more flexible and nimble.” Bold words, especially as retail goes through its most tumultuous period perhaps ever, and with direct competitors like CVS Health and Walgreens, not to mention Walmart and Target, spending big money on their own new strategies and acquisitions — all designed to make them magnet retailers for a new generation of shoppers. Yet, there is no fear at Rite Aid. To the contrary, one can feel a change in attitude and a burning desire to quickly get going with new strategies that will lead the company forward. Also, leadership is confident that it is on the right path and it is trying very hard to get that message out to the entire team, whether at the Camp Hill headquarters or at the stores. “First, the leadership team has to believe in what the company is capable of, and then we have to communicate it to the rest of the team,” Everett said. “My goal is to create a sense of confidence in our team. We want to create the vision, belief and urgency that, together, we will take Rite Aid into the future.” So what is the plan? For the past several months, the Rite Aid team has been analyzing


all aspects of its business and developing its go-forward “Path to the Future” strategy that clearly outlines its plans for long-term sustainable growth. Through this process, Rite Aid has identified three top priorities for building its future business, with the first being to more clearly align its unique healthcare assets, including Rite Aid pharmacists, coaching and analytics from Health Dialog, its RediClinic locations, and the pharmacy benefits and services offered by EnvisionRxOptions, to help payers deliver a higher level of care to patients. Second, the company is reimagining its front-end business to offer the right selection of products and services to meet the needs of its target consumers. And finally, the team will continue focusing on fundamentally transforming processes and procedures to ensure strong cost discipline and achieve peak operational efficiency. The key, both Standley and Everett said, is building momentum and making sure everyone involved — from consumers to suppliers to Rite Aid’s staff at headquarters and the store level — see what is happening.


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COVER STORY Second, Everett said, the company will look to grow. Interestingly, that growth is not expected to come through new store development, but by expanding front-end volume with new merchandising programs and building pharmacy sales. “We are developing a number of concepts to build our front-end business, and we are leveraging and expanding our clinical services to gain more access to more prescription plans,” he said. “Right now, we are not adding stores, we want to add volume into our existing stores.” Third, Everett said the company will accelerate critical efforts to drive innovation, including strengthening its omnichannel presence. Many consumers, he said, want a personalized shopping experience, and Rite Aid’s must be more proactive with e-commerce and such out-of-the-box in-store experiences as mobile and self-checkout, digital shelf displays and even cashier-less stores.

“We are developing a number of concepts to build our front-end business, and we are leveraging and expanding our clinical services to gain more access to more prescription plans.” — COO Bryan Everett

According to Everett, three factors will make the difference in executing its “Path to the Future” strategy. The first is building upon the foundation that currently exists at the company, including the chain’s strong brand recognition and trust with consumers, who are purchasing about 214 million scripts a year through the chain’s pharmacies, and the chain’s 6,300 pharmacists, who Everett called “our not so secret, secret weapons.” Also, he is fast to rattle off other impressive statistics about the chain, including the fact that there are 13 million active Wellness+ Rewards members, that the pharmacy administered a record number of immunizations over the last year, that an impressive 72% of Rite Aid stores already have been converted to the Wellness format, and that samestore prescription count has grown for three consecutive quarters. “Yes, there is a bit of momentum building right now,” Everett said. “And, that momentum is very important because it demonstrates that we can do this; that as a team we can grow, we can pay down our debt and we can start implementing programs that will help us continue to grow well into the future.”

Standley takes the concept of future and moves a bit further. He said that pharmacy growth will also come from making the experience more fulfilling for the consumer, and giving them the ability to get all of their needs met at one store. “We have unique resources that others don’t, and one of them is that pharmacists see chronic patients more than any other touchpoint in the healthcare continuum,” he said. “We need to find ways to continue to help people through our pharmacy and our pharmacists, and make sure all of the dots are connected with our other healthcare capabilities.” He also said that front-end merchandising will focus on the wellness category. “We want to focus on our core customers and give them what they need to better live their lives. That is important at the pharmacy, and it is just as important at the front end.” As Rite Aid’s “Path to the Future” becomes clear, both Standley and Everett recognize that significant work lies ahead. Yet these acknowledgements are no match for the belief that both leaders have in Rite Aid’s strategy, its brand and, most significantly, its team. “The people here at Rite Aid are incredible,” Standley said. “I’ve been here for 17 years, and it didn’t take me long to realize the depth and strength of this organization. Our team has stepped up to every challenge. I believe that Rite Aid is a strong organization that’s capable of so much, and we have the runway that’s needed to bring our strategy to life.” Added Everett, “When I look ahead, my vision is that people will quickly start to say that Rite Aid is back and flourishing. I believe we will be a growth story, and even a game changer in terms of innovation and new technology. Our associates are loyal, dedicated and incredibly resilient, and I believe we have what it takes to deliver what our customers are looking for. That’s the reason I’m here and that’s what makes our ‘Path to the Future’ so exciting.” dsn


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All in One Rite Aid looks to leverage its pharmacy and front end to make itself into a health-andwellness resource By David Salazar


f it can be said that there is a guiding maxim in the retail business, it would be “know thy customer and know thyself” — two goals that Rite Aid has made a central part of its goforward, stand-alone strategy in its new fiscal year, which began in March. John Standley, the company’s CEO, said that coming out of a challenging few years, during which its near acquisition by Walgreens turned into the sale of 1,932 stores and its shareholders did not support a combination with Albertsons, Rite Aid has taken an even closer look at who its best customers are and how the chain can better serve them.


It’s an attitude that goes right down the corporate line at the Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug store chain. “Understanding our customers and their specific needs enables us to do a much better job of reaching them from an omnichannel perspective, while continuously evolving our offering to meet their needs,” said Bill Renz, senior vice president of category management, who has been leading the marketing team in advance of Erik Keptner joining the team as senior vice president and chief marketing and merchandising officer later in June. “These are customers with chronic or polychronic health conditions who are willing to speak with our pharmacists as trusted advisors during their healthcare journeys.”


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6/12/19 1:55 AM

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COVER STORY As part of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, COO Bryan Everett highlighted Rite Aid’s “one-store, one-team” culture — something that is driving Rite Aid’s efforts to better meet the needs of its customers. This means that as it sets out on what the Rite Aid team calls its “Path to the Future,” Rite Aid is focused on enhancing its offerings throughout the store — from the pharmacy counter to the front end. To get there, Rite Aid will invest in infrastructure to enable the company’s more than 6,300 pharmacists to spend more time providing clinical services to patients; revamp its approach to such key front-end categories as health, beauty, consumables and vitamins; and ensure that it can deliver on its shoppers’ needs wherever they are — whether that’s in the store, online or via mobile.

BUILDING A CONNECTION Walking into Rite Aid’s new Innovation Center, which was developed in the company’s Wellness Store format to enable Rite Aid to be first to market with new items and programs, Renz noted that from the outset of the shopper’s journey, a hardwood path cuts its way through the store directly to the pharmacy. The store’s format reflects the importance that the company is placing on the

pharmacist and the customer relationships they are able to create with patients. “Pharmacists are the key to the relationships we have with our customers, because customers, in many cases, trust their pharmacists more than their primary care providers,” Everett said. Indeed, in Gallup’s 2019 Poll on the public’s opinion of the ethics of various professions, only 5% of respondents said they had a low or very low opinion of pharmacists’ honesty and ethical standards — second in that regard only to nurses. It’s something Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy and retail operations Jocelyn Konrad said the company understands as it looks to chart a business model that can withstand increasing reimbursement pressures and growing scrutiny on patient health outcomes. “The purpose of a pharmacist has always been at the core of our decisions,” Konrad said. “As a pharmacist, I don’t think the purpose of a pharmacist is to put medication in a bottle, but it is to take care of patients — and the value proposition of taking care of patients is at the core of what we offer.” One such decision is Rite Aid’s investment in the company’s central fill capabilities, which are meant to empower pharmacists to take care of patients, in part, by finding an efficient way to handle

Rite Aid’s Pharmacy Benefits and Services Arm Plays Differentiation Role As Rite Aid embarks on what its leaders have dubbed the company’s “Path to the Future,” among the assets executives said position it well for years to come is EnvisionRxOptions. Acquired by Rite Aid in 2015, the Twinsburg, Ohio-based company provides pharmacy benefits and services to over 21 million members nationwide, which includes its growing Medicare Part D plan, EnvisionRxPlus and pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRx. According to recently appointed CEO Ben Bulkley, nearly 650,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries get their prescription benefit from Envision, and the PBM already has added more than 200,000 lives this year. Bulkley, who joined the company in late February, touted the company’s transparent PBM model. In this approach, which is preferred by the majority of its clients, Envision does not retain rebates or “spread” pricing on dispensed medications. Instead, Envision passes rebates and discounts on to plan sponsors, who also can opt to leverage Envision’s technology and pass these savings on to patients at the point of sale. “Our transparent PBM is a key strength for us, and that’s been behind our early momentum this year,” he said. “Our people are a key


strength as well, because we’ve been in this model since its inception. They’ve grown up in this model, supporting our clients in this way, so there’s a cultural element of always wanting to be on the side of the client or member that’s an important part of who we are.” Bulkley said EnvisionRxOptions’ client support begins with helping plan sponsors design prescription benefits using analysis of the plan’s previous performance. The company then implements the plan — a process that includes walking new members through the benefit design and any changes that may have taken place between plan years. “It is as much about being consistent as it is anything else,” he said. “Consistently providing a high service level is what we’re striving for.” Today, PBMs increasingly are tasked with cost-containment efforts as medication spending increases. This means undertaking such efforts as formulary management, which Bulkley said is an active conversation with clients from the start, as well as clinical support for patients to enable better adherence and therapy completion. Bulkley said that being part of Rite Aid, with its pharmacy base, as well as its RediClinics

and Health Dialog population health management company, creates an offering that is truly unique and that can help deliver a higher level of care to patients. “What we’re beginning to see and will see more of is the rise of the pharmacist as a more impactful provider of care,” he said. “Whether it’s Health Dialog or EnvisionRxOptions, a common thread for all of us is investing in that clinical capability because it’s becoming more important.” As he leads the PBM, Bulkley said he is focused on building partnerships with regional health plans, which he said EnvisionRxOptions is well positioned to help given its status as pharmacy-owned versus other PBMs that are owned by health plans and, often, compete with regional and system-owned plans. “We want to carefully pursue parts of the market in which we are best positioned to service and achieve a mutually successful partnership, while continuing to increase our service levels so clients, once they come with us, never want to leave,” he said. “We’ll do this while continuing to invest in the clinical programs with Rite Aid and other assets within the company.” —David Salazar


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COVER STORY of emphasis — adherence, immunizations and medication therapy management, or AIM — that can both improve patient health outcomes and offer the pharmacy an opportunity for reimbursement. “Rite Aid’s pharmacists have embraced AIM and they understand it means that there’s a higher level of care that we can provide,” Konrad said. “When looking at an attributed patient population within a pharmacy, only about 10% of patients require this higher level of care, so when we are ‘AIMing higher,’ it’s really focused on those patients and getting our pharmacists to recognize that the time they spend with that part of the population is extremely valuable.” That’s not to say pharmacists are not spending time with other patients. “Rite Aid’s pharmacists deal with caregivers who also will eventually be in that population,” Konrad said. “It is just as important for us to build the relationship with these people, knowing that eventually they will be our best customer.”


increasing prescription volume. Konrad said that roughly 700 stores have patients’ maintenance prescriptions filled at the company’s central fill facility, removing that task from in-store pharmacists. That number is expected to increase to 1,100 stores during fiscal year 2020. This combined with such efforts as medication synchronization and automatic courtesy refills, means pharmacists are able to focus more on clinical services, including immunizations, which hit a record number for the company during fiscal year 2019. To make it easier to identify when patients need an intervention, Rite Aid developed and introduced Rite Care, a state-of-the-art tool that enables pharmacists to see a broader picture of a patient’s health records when filling a medication, and it provides real-time alerts for clinical services patients may need. “Having this information at our pharmacist’s fingertips as they fill prescriptions is critical, and we’ve seen success making these important interventions to deliver clinical services patients need,” Konrad said. “I think our patients appreciate the fact that we’re looking at their overall health, not just that one prescription that they’re coming in for.” These interventions can be particularly meaningful for patients who frequent the pharmacy — Standley pointed out that these tend to be patients with chronic conditions who drive a large portion of the pharmacy business. Rite Aid focuses on helping them manage their conditions and improve their health through three areas


The same approach that informs Rite Aid’s pharmacy strategy is helping to reshape its front end — namely, putting the customer first and knowing what offerings will resonate with them. “We’re looking at how the consumer shops and are using this consumercentric approach to determine how we build our merchandising strategy,” Renz said. As a result, the company is focusing on both assortment and shopability of key categories like health, beauty, consumables and vitamins. “Where we’re really going to win with customers is in those four areas. We have to connect with customers in those spaces,” Renz said. A key element of this push has been building out its own-brand offerings, from reviving its Rite Aid Pharmacy OTC brand to focusing on ingredients in other categories. “We want to capitalize on the Rite Aid name and allow our customers to take advantage of the great value these products offer in terms of both quality and price,” Renz said. “We’re working very hard to provide better-for-you ingredients in our consumables offering, as well as cleaning up ingredients in our beauty and health products.”

The same approach that informs Rite Aid’s pharmacy strategy is helping reshape its front end — namely, putting the customer first and knowing what offerings will resonate with them. Consumables are an area that can help strengthen the company’s wellness play, both from a food and beverage perspective and a tobacco perspective. Rite Aid is exiting the vaping and e-cigarette business, and raising the age for buying tobacco products to 21 years old, with an emphasis on having conversations with those consumers about smoking cessation when applicable. On the food


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COVER STORY side, the company has introduced Be Rite, a shelf-labeling program that helps shoppers identify the different functional and dietary benefits of certain products. “What we’ve tried to do is communicate with our customers no matter where they are on their wellness journey,� Renz said. “Be Rite enables us to help our customers make informed decisions.� In the beauty aisle, Renz said it has reinvented the space with a focus on key national legacy brands, as well as indie brands, from cruelty-free brands Kokie and Cake to e.l.f., one of the hottest names in the value beauty space. Focusing on ingredients, in particular eliminating such ingredients as phthalates and parabens from its private-label offerings also helps build out Rite Aid’s healthand-wellness focus. Similarly, Rite Aid’s approach to vitamins is key to expanding the health-and-wellness proposition that often begins in the pharmacy. It recently extended its more than 20-year partnership with vitamin and supplement retailer GNC through 2021, continuing to offer its products in store-within-a-store sections. “We believe that, as we help people take control of their health and wellness, supplementation and vitamins can play a key role in that journey,� Renz said. “So, it’s important that we invest in that space, and leveraging the GNC partnership we have really enhances our presence in the vitamins and supplements space.�

In all areas of the store — as with the path to the pharmacy — Renz said the company is focusing on shopability, from creating a beauty wall that allows for more flexible merchandising to lining the checkout queue area with healthy snacks. Rite Aid also is testing innovations like placing greeting cards and gift cards in the same section, as customers often purchase both items at the same time. “We think that the path to purchase in the store is very shopperfriendly,� Renz said. “We look at the need state, so if a customer is sick, we’ve readjusted our merchandising so they don’t have to walk all the way through the store to get what they need.� Being shoppable for Renz really means being accessible, and delivering seamless customer experience with a relevant product mix. “From a merchandising perspective, Rite Aid is working to connect its front-end product assortment and innovation with the expectations of our best customers,� he said. “Innovation is about being relevant to the markets that we compete in.� Key examples of this include rolling out topical CBD products in Washington and Oregon stores. Shopability also means checkout convenience. As the company pilots self-checkouts in certain stores, it has seen close to 50% of its transactions completed through the self-checkout offering. All of these efforts are undertaken with the goal of creating a loyal customer base — not just to build up its Wellness+ Rewards

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COVER STORY loyalty program membership, though that is part of it, but also to make sure shoppers see Rite Aid as a resource regardless of their need state. Konrad cited smoking cessation and immunizations as prime examples of areas where the front end can drive shoppers to the pharmacy. “Our front-end team is critical in educating customers who may not get their prescriptions filled at Rite Aid about the services we provide. Our front-end team is very comfortable having these conversations, appropriately educating the consumer, and also inviting them to go visit our pharmacist,” Konrad said. “The perception of patients is that the pharmacist is always so busy that they can’t go and ask them a question. But in 27 years, I’ve never had a pharmacist say, ‘No, sorry I don’t have time for you’ — they always find the time. So, it’s important to build that bridge so the customer is comfortable going to the pharmacist to engage with them.” Executives at Rite Aid all concur on one thing — the company’s path forward will be characterized by knowing its customers and what they need. Standley said, “Our merchandising mix is going to

continue to evolve into the wellness space, and you’re going to see us focus more on what we can do from a merchandising perspective to assist patients who are key pharmacy customers.” Konrad said that building out omnichannel offerings — which include revamping and building on Rite Aid’s existing e-commerce and mobile strategies, plus in-store innovation — would play an important role. “We will see a very specific pharmacy patientcentric world, where we are providing what those patients need and creating an omnichannel approach, where we can meet patients exactly where they want us to meet them,” she said. Renz said that, in addition to all of its in-store efforts, the resolve of Rite Aid’s staff will propel it into the future. “We’re a team that’s very gritty, and I say that in a very humble way,” he said. “This organization has been through a lot, yet we are charging ahead as a very strong retail player on both coasts, and we’ve got a great team that is going to take us to the next level — from a pharmacy perspective, from a marketing perspective, and from a category management and merchandising perspective.” dsn

Crafting an Innovative Digital Approach As Rite Aid charts its “Path to the Future,” one of the key areas of investment for the chain is digital solutions. In December, the Camp Hill, Pa.-based company hired senior vice president and chief information officer Justin Mennen, who said the company has two primary areas of focus in terms of digital transformation. The first and largest focus for the company in fiscal year 2020, he said, is creating a seamless customer experience across Rite Aid’s stores and digital properties, with the second focus aimed at improving the Rite Aid associate experience. Mennen said his experience at CompuCom Systems, Estée Lauder, and Dell Technologies — where his duties included heading digital transformation for industry-leading companies — has informed his move to Rite Aid, where he wants to bring digital solutions to bear in the health-and-wellness space to make Rite Aid a market leader digitally. Mennen believes Rite Aid is well positioned to achieve this critical objective. “While Rite Aid has a large footprint, we are extremely nimble and can move very quickly,” Mennen said. “Our leadership team is aligned and excited about our future at Rite Aid, and the positive impact that technology will have on customer and associate experience. Our internal capabilities, coupled with those of our


strategic partners, well positions Rite Aid for rapid acceleration in the digital space.” On the customer side, Rite Aid is focused on experience and convenience that include its brick-and-mortar footprint, its mobile products and its e-commerce offerings. “We are connecting the physical touchpoints in our 2,500 stores with the digital touchpoints across our online, mobile and e-commerce experiences, to create a seamless omnichannel experience for Rite Aid customers,” he said. The ultimate goal? Creating an experience across channels that is truly unique and convenient, delivering innovation that improves the lives of Rite Aid customers. He highlighted the fact that Rite Aid is not only introducing fundamental technologies such as self-checkout, but that it also will be piloting such solutions as mobile checkout in store and fully frictionless experiences to deliver even more convenience for existing shoppers and to attract the interest of new customers, as well. “We want to ensure our current core customer base can shop with Rite Aid the way they feel most comfortable, whether that be in a more traditional sense or leveraging our new digital solutions,” he said. “But we also want to bring in new customers, and those new customers will leverage new ways of shopping with our brand.”

When it comes to improving the associate experience, Mennen said the focus will be on ensuring that Rite Aid can be productive and efficient by eliminating manual steps or processes, and utilizing automation where appropriate. It also means replacing legacy systems with modern solutions in areas that will offer rapid return on investment, as well as introducing solutions that foster stronger communication and break down silos in the corporate office, in its stores and in the field. To achieve these goals, Rite Aid is taking an approach that combines in-house talent and experience with key partnerships that will allow the company to rapidly drive transformation at scale. “We’re partnering with leading technology companies to bring forward differentiated solutions that will change this industry and provide our customers with a truly seamless and convenient health-and-wellness experience,” he said. Creating an innovative retail offering that differentiates Rite Aid doesn’t end with simply having the right technology. Mennen said that Rite Aid is starting to create a culture of innovation across the company, from associates to the C-suite, to unlock ideas from every corner. “We are building a collaborative environment that allows us to take innovative ideas and turn them into reality rapidly,” he said. —David Salazar


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Guiding Our Team’s ‘Path to the Future’ Rite Aid’s approach to investing in experience through its associates By Jessica Kazmaier

I Jessica Kazmaier, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Rite Aid


’ve always been very proud to be part of the Rite Aid team. I’ve been with the company for nearly 20 years, and I feel extremely fortunate to be part of an organization that appreciates and fosters the growth and development of our associates. This is a company that understands that there is nothing more powerful than a fully engaged team working together to deliver caring moments that matter most to our customers and patients. Now, as I take on a new role as senior vice president and chief human resources officer, I remain committed to building on that unique culture and our core strengths and values, while remaining nimble and open-minded in an ever-changing and competitive environment. As an HR team, our role will be to deliver the type of associate experience that empowers our team to deliver a great customer experience and ultimately grow our business. Our people are critical to bringing our Path to the Future strategy to life and need to be empowered to deliver a customer-centric experience, drive innovation and grow the business. We need to continue to be well-positioned to earn the business of our loyal customers and win over new ones. Our customers have high expectations and considerable choice: it’s up to us to know them and anticipate their needs. So, how do we intend to fulfill this commitment to our customers, patients, associates and communities? I’ll focus on three key areas for our human resources team: First, we have to ensure the development of strong leaders at all levels in the organization who can empower associates to understand our customers’ needs and make decisions based on these interactions. Good leadership doesn’t just happen, it’s something we intentionally nurture and develop. Especially during a period of organizational change, effective leadership is critical, and our leaders remain focused on being visible and communicating our strategy in a credible and personable way.

Second, we must engage and communicate authentically so all associates know they’re a valued part of the team. We’re a close-knit organization and our story is a good one: Rite Aid’s core values and mission make this a great place to work. A key piece of this is having a feedback-rich environment where people feel able to express ideas and make suggestions. Finally, we need to enable and accelerate business growth through diversity and inclusion. Diversity for Rite Aid really means celebrating differences and the value of open-mindedness. Rite Aid is focused on building a culture that embraces a full spectrum of human differences and experiences. As an example, we’re proud of the diversity of our board of directors, furthered by the recent appointment of two additional women. We also understand that inclusivity, that feeling of belonging and fully participating in the organization, only serves to strengthen all of us.

We need to continue to be wellpositioned to earn the business of our loyal customers and win over new ones. Rite Aid has a culture that’s known for showing resolve when faced with a challenge. I’ve often said that Rite Aid feels more like a family or community than a large organization. We share a passion for serving customers and patients and supporting our fellow associates at the highest levels. The unique challenges of the past several years have brought us closer together and have made us even more determined to succeed. Make no mistake, we want to win and believe we will win. As leader of the Rite Aid human resources team, I’m very passionate about supporting that kind of culture. Doing so will be critically important as we look to leverage technology in new ways and create a one-of-a-kind, seamlessly connected customer experience. dsn


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Catching the Wave Product introductions and changing consumer demands breathe life into hair care By Seth Mendelson


he hair care business seems to have a new bounce in its step. After three stagnant years, sales of shampoos and conditioners in the mass market are on the rise again, posting 3%-to-4% gains for the first four months of this year, according to IRI. Styling is still flat, but retailers expect gains during the second half of this year thanks to a steady stream of launches. No longer just about washing, conditioning and rinsing, hair care products today are about self-esteem, self-care and even personal expression. People who once felt constrained to straighten hair have pride in curls. Bold hair colors offer a way to make a fashion statement. Consumers, especially millennials, are treating hair care much the same way as they address other personal grooming needs like skin care or applying makeup. Initiatives enacted by brands and retailers to stay current with consumer demands are expected to help mass retailers nab an even larger share of the $16 billion spent on hair products in the United States, according to Statista. Propelling growth will be the continued availability of natural ingredients, products for all types of hair, more products for men and items that tie into the wellness movement. The latter includes ingestibles — a growing segment of hair care as consumers discover supplements can improve their tresses — a trend that began in premium


retailers and is cascading to mass. Hair regrowth is another hot button as at least 50% of men and women claim to experience some degree of thinning hair.

A Changing Assortment

Retail hair care shelves of today look much different from even just five years ago. Ulta Beauty now has a 16-foot textured hair section, with mass, prestige and professional

brands all merchandised together. The retailer also has a new at-home hair color area highlighted by Madison Reed, an exclusive to the retailer. CVS Pharmacy added new brands to its assortment over the past year, along with the first retail offer of the eSalon, which previously had only been direct to consumer. Target sports one of the most expansive textured hair departments in the mass


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HAIR CARE channel. The chain also is building a huge business with its exclusive Kristin Ess brand that stretches from shampoos and conditioners to tools and specialty styling options, including scalp care. Target recently also expanded its Goodfellow apparel logo into men’s grooming and hair care. The apparel brand first launched nearly two years ago and, according to the company, it’s poised to be a “nearly $1 billion brand by 2020.” That popularity played a big part in the expansion into men’s grooming, an increasingly popular category, according to Mark Tritton, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at the Minneapolis-based chain. Products for textured hair have had a monumental impact on overall category sales. Michelle Breyer, co-founder of TextureTrends, said that shoppers in the market for products for curly, coily and textured hair — about 60% of the population — build shopping baskets. Those consumers spend an average of $247 per year on products versus the $139 spent by shoppers with naturally straight hair. They also always are on the hunt for innovations, she said. Textured hair products also have awakened shopper interest in new ingredients, mostly natural, that are beneficial to hair — and that is spilling into the general market. Google searches reveal rising interest in ingredients like castor oil, argan oil, shea, coconut, mango, honey and tea tree oil, among others. “The trends we are seeing in hair care products are natural, organic ingredients that provide benefits to the hair and scalp. Consumers are well informed about the benefits of using natural ingredients and the harm that artificial ingredients can do to the hair and scalp,” Osman Mithavayani, co-founder and vice president of Okay Pure Naturals beauty care products, said. “Consumers are curious, buying, trying natural hair care products. Consumers know that products get absorbed through the hair strands, pores and scalp.” He also said that artificial ingredients and chemicals cause such hair issues as dandruff or scalp irritation. Okay has been a trailblazer in bringing such trending ingredients as almond, argan, black Jamaican castor


oil, charcoal, coconut, green tea, olive, shea, mango, lavender, honey and peppermint to the mass market. One of the newest additions is in tune with consumer interests — a Hemp Hair Collection. Mithavayani also pinpointed multipurpose beauty products as gaining in popularity in hair care. “Since consumers demand

natural and organic products, many of these products can indeed be used on the entire body on both skin and hair,” he said. “Products such as shea butter and coconut oil, which can be used for both hair and skin, help treat several conditions and have been extremely popular in the multicultural and general markets.” That is true at Universal Beauty Products, where the company’s Jamaican Black Castor Oils are positioned as not only beneficial to the scalp and hair, but also as a moisturizer for dry skin and a soothing oil to massage into sore muscles, according to the company. Mielle has been at the forefront of ingredient stories, as well as partnering with retailers to help them build hair care share. Some of its latest launches zero in on such consumer demand for strengthening as its new Rosemary Mint Scalp and Hair Strengthening Oil. The formula features biotin to invigorate hair, the company said. With consumers more focused than ever on better-for-you formulas, Mielle has a Go Green seal validating its products contain certified organic ingredients. Christine King, a marketing and brand strategist at Key Brands said, “The trend right now is focused on natural, good-foryou ingredients. Consumers are increasingly educated in the beauty space and are looking for sulfate-, paraben- and gluten-free products. We continue to look for natural and botanical ingredients that can work well together to deliver consistent results for healthy hair.” This year, the brand is set to launch Essentials No. 12, a line designed for overall hair health focused on nurturing hair with carefully blended botanical ingredients and exotic oils. The line is not tested on animals and has no harsh chemicals. The company also eyes the potential in thinning hair. “The first half of this year, we saw expanded interest in our Boost-IT line up, which addresses thinning hair and also, due to a proprietary formula, accelerates hair growth. One of the key ingredients in this scalp-health line is Antiguan coffee berry,” King said. Consumers are looking for ingredients in products as much as what is not in them. Every Strand Earthy Hair Essentials, which


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HAIR CARE markets products for all hair types, is in tune with shoppers’ quest to find lines that do not have parabens, sulfates and DEA. While they are void of unwanted ingredients, the items infuse the right ingredient for the right need, the company said. For example, shea and coconut are used for damage control, and keratin with aloe and vitamin E for chemically treated hair. To offer a regimen, Every Strand has shampoos and conditioners, treatments and masques, and styling and finishing products.

A Wellness Proposition

Wellness has entered into hair care, marking a logical next step from interest in natural formulas. OGX was a pioneer in the mass market, bringing out its Green Tea Fitness line last year. Infused with rich antioxidant green tea and refreshing lotus, the line is positioned as an “active fitness shampoo” that’s in sync with America’s workout culture. Nourish Beaute is an emerging brand on the scene that aims to become a “holistic healthy-living” range, said Katie Means, beauty product manager at HealthSmart, which recently acquired the hair care brand. Nourish Beaute is a plant-based, drug-free, cruelty-free collection positioned to support hair growth. “We appeal to people who want to be proactive — they care about their skin and are doing the same for hair.” Nourish Beaute sales continue to flourish in direct-to-consumer channels, with intent to expand into retail in the coming months, Means said. Entrepreneurs Psyche and Vontoba Terry often found themselves in the doctor’s office, seeking relief from dry hair and skin. Seeking a solution, they teamed with a nonprofit organization to create Urban Hydration. The brand is sold in more than 7,000 retail doors, including recent inclusion at Target. The collections include Honey Growth and Repair, Avocado and Argan Oil Haircare, No Dry Drama and Jamaican Castor Oil. To help consumers figure out what to buy, the brand divides products into hair types. HerbaDerm, an established family business from Israel, is introducing Nature Nut, a five-nut collection formulated for healthy


hair that includes argan, coconut, macadamia, shea and Brazil nuts. The company is building multiple sales by recommending the cocktailing of multiple products, including its dry and damaged shampoo formula in combination with a hair mask, and a styling and moisturizing hair cream.

Striking Oil

Hair oils were identified by research company Kline as a booming sector of hair care. One of the most mentioned in its research is Art Naturals. The brand is singled out by retailers as offering quality natural products that rival organic stores lines at accessible prices. Like many categories in the mass market today, the activity is driven by up-andcoming brands. Yet, that does not mean mega firms are not innovating. Emboldened by strides made in skin care with Olay, Procter & Gamble is stepping up to the plate in hair care. As with Olay, Pantene was burdened with too many SKU’s at retail. That’s been sliced in half, and Pantene already is seeing a sales spike. Furthermore, P&G hair care — Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Old Spice and the in-house incubated Hair Food — now more clearly is segmented by consumer, target and/or distribution channel. Aussie, for example, recently was reborn to attract Generation Z, while Herbal Essences spotlights its ingredients. The company said that hair care has accelerated over the last two years and is decommoditizing and changing dramatically to mirror society, especially the multiethnic population.

Other Opportunities

Men are emerging as a potential to build baskets, retailers said, because they are on a quest for products for their needs, especially to keep hair from thinning. Thick Head from Atlantic Coast Brands — the maker of women’s brand Keronique — is a new entry already in the top-10 ranking on IRI. Currently, the hair growth segment

is down at mass, but such entries as Thick Head are set to revive the business. Revlon’s American Crew remains a go-to collection for men putting it at the top three men’s brands at mass. Americans are washing their hair less frequently — a trend driven by the increase in blowouts and natural locks. The upside of that is a burst of sales activity in dry shampoos. Freeman Beauty’s Psssst! is not only a pioneer in the space, but has kept current by adding options for such specific needs as nourish or volumizing. The hair color business has been down for several years, faced by not only growing salon visits, but direct-to-consumer options, such as eSalon and Madison Reed. Recently, L’Oréal threw its hat into the custom-color, direct-to-consumer business too. Hoyu America, the U.S. unit of Japan-based Hoyu Co., wants to move the sales needle. Its Bigen permanent and semipermanent hair color options are free of ammonia and require no hydrogen peroxide. Multicultural consumers are the main drivers of the Bigen Permanent Powder hair color product that’s mixed with water. A staple of beauty supply stores, the powder now is available at selected mass market outlets. To serve the consumer requests for bolder shades, Hoyu USA has updated the Bigen Vivid Shade hair coloring range with four new shades. The hair care category is not complete without the high-margin accessories that make the mass market the leading destination for the category. Goody, the leading brand, continues to bring new styles to its legendary Ouchless Forever Elastics. In July, Goody will launch a Heat 101 Brush for waves and curls at Walmart. It is a medium-round hair brush, featuring a thermal barrel for quick-dry styling. To help consumers achieve the looks they see on social media, at-home tutorials are featured on the back of the packaging. dsn


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Ors Looks to Restore Damaged Hair Ors Hair Care is growing its portfolio with new additions to its HaiRepair collection. The Chicago-based brand’s two latest launches — Deep Conditioning + Restoring Treatment Masque and Restore + Heat Protect Multi-Benefit Serum — are formulated to condition,

Bare Republic, Suncayr Win DSN/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award Bare Republic won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its line of mineral sunscreens

and Suncayr was a finalist. Bare Republic won the award during ECRM’s Sun Care session held in Cape Coral, Fla., in May. Suncayr was the finalist for its SPOTMYUV UV detection stickers.

The two companies were selected by buyers from dozens of entries in the award program, samples of which were displayed in the ECRM hospitality area during the EPPS meetings. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award winners offer unique ways of providing safety to users, and in fact can even be used in conjunction with each other,” said Tony Giovanini, senior vice president of health and beauty care at ECRM. “Bare Republic’s mineral sunscreen provides protection from harmful rays while eliminating any potential harmful ingredients; while Suncayr’s SPOTMYUV product has innovative technology to alert sunbathers when it’s time to reapply sunscreen for optimal protection. We congratulate both on their awards.” Bare Republic is a mineral-only line of sunscreens designed to provide sun protection in tough conditions without questionable ingredients.


According to the company, what sets its products apart is the emphasis on wearability and fun, which comes through in the products’ colorful design, scents and, ultimately, how it looks and feels on skin. Suncayr was founded in 2014 when three Canadian engineers found their passion in preventing a type of cancer that directly affected their friends and family. When sunscreen is used properly, skin cancer can be prevented, but according to the company, people still use less than 50% of the sunscreen needed to avoid a sunburn. The founders developed the SPOTMYUV UV detection stickers to help people use the right amount of sunscreen, as well as be alerted to when it’s time to reapply.

treat and protect textured hair. The products contain coconut oil, baobab and active protein complex to repair overprocessed and heat-damaged hair. “These newest HaiRepair treatments were created to deliver the next level of performance-driven innovation to our consumers,” Nicole Ray Robinson, marketing category head at Ors’ parent company Namaste Laboratories, said. “Our newest treatments feature premium-quality, leading-edge hair repair technology to maximize performance —repairing and strengthening strands from within.”

Both new products have been formulated to address the needs of textured hair and help counteract the damaging effects of daily styling, chemical treatments, excess heat and environmental aggressors, the company said. Ors’ HaiRepair Deep Conditioning + Restoring Treatment Masque is available in a 12-oz. size that retails for $8.99 and a 1.75-oz. size that retails for $1.79. The Restore + Heat Protect Multi-Benefit Serum comes in a 4.3 fl.-oz. size that retails for $7.99. Both items can be found alongside the HaiRepair Coconut Oil and Baobab Collection at select Target, Walmart and local beauty supply stores.


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Eyes That ‘Pop’

To keep hair looking good on the go, there’s Batiste Dry Shampoo in the tropical scent. With a few sprays, it looks to remove excess oil and grease, and add body and texture without the need for water, all with an exotic coconut scent. The dry shampoo’s formula, containing rice starch for a dry application, is light so tresses won’t be weighed down or left with a heavy residue. The travel size retails for $3.49 and can be found at select drug, grocery, mass, beauty, specialty and online retailers.

For a last-minute palette that can do it all, Maybelline New York’s Soda Pop Eyeshadow Palette paves the way for an intense or cool-toned eye look. Containing intensely pigmented and creamy colors, just one swipe can create a dramatic look perfect for any time of day. It currently retails for $10.99 and can be found at mass market retailers.

Desirable De-puffing After hours sitting in a car or on a plane, one might need to decompress or find a way to help minimize puffiness or dark circles under the eyes. That’s where the Pacifica Leave

Pretty Anti-Puff Eye Patches come in. Featuring two natural fiber single-use masks, each contains blue tansy that is rich in antioxidants and helps soothe; linden leaf to lock in moisture; and kelp extract that’s high in iodine, minerals and antioxidants. The patches retail for $4.99 at Target.

Glow on the Go The L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shake & Glow Dew Mist helps provide an effortless and natural glow to skin. Used to lock in a dewy complexion, the mist contains coconut water and vitamin C for healthy hydration that lasts for up to 24 hours. The mist can be used over makeup for a little extra glam, or on bare skin to awaken and prep it for makeup. A travel-sized version of the product retails for $7.99 and can be found on Amazon.com.


Straightening Things Out To get a sleek straight look no matter the place, the Eva NYC Mini Healthy Heat Thermal Straightening Brush can help do the trick. Perfect for creating a straight style, the product features ceramic heating elements, cool-tip bristles to safely separate and brush hair, dual voltage, a heat-resistant handle and auto shutoff. Users can expect a healthy, straight and frizz-free style. The brush currently retails for $35 at Target.com.


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Immunization Nation In-store vaccinations offer pharmacists opportunity to flex clinical muscles and build revenue By Sandra Levy


n 2008, when New York became the 49th state to authorize pharmacists to provide certain vaccinations, Heather Ferrarese, owner of Bartle’s Pharmacy in Oxford, N.Y., went back to school to become certified so that she could provide vaccinations in her small, rural town. Fast forward to 2019, and Ferrarese now provides thousands of vaccines each year and she is enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines for Children Program, which enables her to provide free vaccines to uninsured or underinsured children. Shelby Leheny, pharmacy manager at CVS Pharmacy in Bedford, Ohio, graduated two years ago from pharmacy school. During flu season, she gave 45 immunizations in one day. She also gives flu vaccinations at local companies. Cynthia Moreau is an assistant professor in the department of pharmacy practice at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where first-year pharmacy students are required to complete the American Pharmacists Association’s pharmacy-based immunization delivery certificate training program. She also is an ambulatory care specialist pharmacist in a physician’s office where she educates patients about vaccines. Ferrarese, Leheny and Moreau are not alone in embracing their role as vaccinators. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2018 Digest, 73% of independent pharmacies are immunizing. “The percentage of independents [that] are immunizing has steadily grown over the last five years,” said John Beckner, NCPA’s senior director of strategic initiatives. As of December 2018, more than 340,000 pharmacists have been trained to administer vaccines across the patient lifespan. This is a substantial increase from


First year pharmacy students at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy.

the 40,000 who had been trained in 2007, according to Janet Engle, department of pharmacy practice professor and senior associate dean for professional and international affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy. Engle said that all accredited schools of pharmacy are required to include immunization training as part of their core curriculum. Although state laws vary for the need for a protocol and/or prescription to give a vaccine, minimum age limit, and the vaccines pharmacists are authorized to administer, pharmacists have the authority to prescribe

vaccines in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Indeed, pharmacists have made substantial headway as immunizers, even overcoming pushback from many physicians who viewed pharmacists as a threat to their revenue stream to become a trusted resource and accessible source for patients’ vaccination needs.

Education is Key

Like many healthcare providers who vaccinate, pharmacists face challenges, including the growth of the anti-vaccination


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PHARMACY | IMMUNIZATIONS movement, which has been spreading misinformation that vaccines cause illnesses and such conditions as autism. The movement has been tied to the current measles outbreak, as the majority of cases are occurring among unvaccinated children, the CDC said. Between Jan. 1 and May 24, 940 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 26 states, according to the CDC This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Pharmacists can be instrumental in providing accurate information to parents since they more usually are accessible than other healthcare providers, experts said. Beckner believes pharmacists have an opportunity and an obligation to educate patients about vaccine safety and to dispel myths. “It’s a shame that there’s so much misinformation. Pharmacists and the pharmacy community really need to step up and be as vocal as the anti-vaccine movement has been,” he said. Billy Chow, vice president of pharmacy at Washington-based Bartell Drugs, a 68-store chain that has been providing vaccinations for a quarter-century, agreed that pharmacists can play a monumental role in preventing such diseases as influenza or measles. “Whether it’s lack of information or misinformation, some people are very skeptical about vaccinations. Pharmacists are easily accessible and can help educate those seeking answers, while debunking popular misinformation about vaccines,” Chow said. “Many people are unsure if they have ever received important vaccinations. CDC guidelines suggest revaccinating when in doubt.” Mitchel Rothholz, APhA’s chief strategy officer, echoed Chow’s thoughts. “Part of the guidelines for pharmacy-based immunizations is for pharmacists to keep up to date with current recommendations so that they can address the myths and facts,” Rothholz said. “Pharmacists are able to take the information that emanates from the CDC and other reputable organizations and share those consistent messages with the public, and answer some of those questions that arise when there is misinformation.”


Beckner said that the CDC releases new guidelines each year regarding vaccines and age indications, and he also pointed to the Immunization Action Coalition as a good resource. Yet pharmacists are not the only stakeholders aiming to educate patients about vaccines — drug manufacturers also are interested in spreading the word and raising awareness to increase immunization rates. Sanofi is among the drug manufacturers that are stepping up to educate consumers about vaccines. “Sanofi is committed to numerous educational programs to help raise awareness about the importance of adult, adolescent and pediatric immunization, and has years of experience in sharing evidence-based practices that help improve vaccine acceptance and increase immunization rates,”said Julian Ritchey, head of public affairs and patient advocacy at Sanofi’s U.S. vaccines business. “We seek behavioral science and consumer research to inform our vaccine education and implementation strategies. We support ongoing educational initiatives to help address patient-provider communication gaps on vaccination and disease risks.” GlaxoSmithKline, which makes shinglesprevention vaccine Shingrix, also is doing its part to educate patients. “Vaccines are studied extensively before, during and following licensure, and there is a vast body of scientific evidence that overwhelmingly supports their safety and impact in preventing serious and even life threatening infectious disease,” GSK said. “Through our government affairs and medical teams, we look to provide factual content about vaccine science and the value of vaccines to multiple social channels.”

Besides educating patients, manufacturers are hoping to provide resources for pharmacists — a goal that pharmacy technology companies share. GSK has a dedicated team made up of retail medical science liaisons who work to educate pharmacists about the company’s full vaccines portfolio. “As part of our educational efforts, we also create and disseminate resources for pharmacists to use within the pharmacy and with their patients,” GSK said. Sanofi and its VaxServe subsidiary also educate the pharmacy community about vaccine products, including clinical differences, safety and benefits through multiple channels. These include partnerships with professional organizations, publication and journal ads, training programs, and marketing material to help guide pharmacists’ discussions with consumers. Pharmacy technology company Amplicare is playing a role in helping pharmacists increase the rate of vaccinations through Amplicare Assist, an inworkflow notification system. “When working on a patient profile in the pharmacy management system, pharmacists receive a notification about clinical care opportunities, including immunizations, so they are prompted to take a key action in the moment,” Amplicare CEO Matt Johnson said. “The timely, patient-specific information delivered really helps enhance patient care.”Amplicare also provides educational material through its platform to help facilitate crucial conversations with patients.

New Opportunities

A crucial part of administering vaccinations for pharmacists is keeping abreast of the range of immunizations available to them. For instance, Merck’s Zostavax has been in use since 2006, but since the introduction of GSK’s Shingrix in 2017, Shingrix has become the CDC’s preferred vaccine for prevention of herpes zoster and related complications in healthy adults age 50 years old and older, GSK said. Other changes include expanded age indications for certain immunizations and new immunizations for dengue or protecting children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and hepatitis B all at once.


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PHARMACY | IMMUNIZATIONS It also is imperative that pharmacists are aware of their state’s regulations. For example, New York State has a sunset on the legislation that gives pharmacists the authority to vaccinate, and it has to be renewed every two years. Bartle’s Ferrarese said that the Pharmacy Society of the State of New York, of which she is a board member, is seeking removal of the sunset, as well as immunization authority to offer all of the adult immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, opening up the opportunity to New York pharmacists to administer travel vaccines — a growing revenue stream for pharmacies nationwide. APhA, which 25 years ago created a certificate training program in immunizations across the lifespan, had immunizing pharmacists who saw a need in their community for travel health services. The only access for travel health was on university and health system campuses, or with hard-to-find practitioners who had limited hours and access. APhA now has an advanced practice training program for travel health services, and pharmacists also can obtain an international certification. “Pharmacists doing travel health provide more than vaccinations; they also address other healthcare needs if people are traveling to areas where there is a water or food issue,” APhA’s Rothholz said. “Pharmacists can educate patients on how to protect themselves.” As part of Bartell Drugs’ travel program, pharmacists work with patients to come up with a regimen of prophylaxis medications or vaccines 4-to-5 weeks before they travel abroad. “Usually, there’s a two-week period that your body needs in order to develop the antibodies necessary for an immune response,” Chow said. “While traveling to new locations, it’s important to be aware of any risks.” Bartell offers a vaccine for Yellow Fever, despite a nationwide manufacturer shortage. “The CDC, in partnership with a European manufacturer, helped make available an alternative yellow fever vaccine for use in the U.S. under a special release provision,” Chow said. “We’re one of the select pharmacies across the country that can provide that vaccine because of our


Seattle-based Bartell Drugs has been providing vaccinations for a quarter century.

robust travel and immunization program.” As more pharmacists become involved with immunizations and travel clinics, they have an opportunity to expand their healthand-wellness services. “Providing immunizations can drive your prescription business. It can also be a springboard into other patient care services such as MTM, point of care testing and smoking cessation,” Beckner said, noting that pharmacists should inform physicians, travel agents and churches that they offer vaccinations. “Pharmacists’ roles continue to evolve in the industry, Chow said. “Utilizing immunizations is just one platform to help prevent disease. Assisting patients regarding overall wellness, adherence and medication compliance are a few more ways we help them stay healthy.” It appears likely that pharmacists will play a key role in the growth of vaccination rates, especially if vaccination registries, which are voluntary in some states, become mandatory. “Everybody is encouraging the use of registries to keep track of which immunizations have been given and to identify gaps where immunizations need to be given,” Beckner said.

Amplicare’s Johnson pointed out that progressive pharmacies see an opportunity to become a healthcare cornerstone of their communities, especially considering the rising tide of healthcare costs and the accessibility strain caused by a shortage of primary care physicians. “Immunizations are a paramount disease-state service offered by pharmacists and are a key way for them to utilize their clinical skills to the fullest extent to help their patients,” he said. Ferrarese’s enrollment in the Vaccines for Children Program is proof that pharmacists can boost children’s immunization rates, as well as their pharmacy’s bottom line. “Last year, with the flu outbreak, we had tons of calls from parents who couldn’t get in to their doctors to get their children vaccinated,” she said. “The state provides vaccines to the pharmacy at no charge. Most insurance companies will pay an administrative fee in addition to the vaccine. We get paid, on average $20 for a vaccine administration. That can add up.” Finally, Leheny, who affixes vaccine reminders on prescription bags, said, “Push for vaccines, ask a question. You can truly make an impact on people and prevent many diseases.” dsn


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Diabetes Management Evolves Innovations make self-care easier and enable pharmacists to engage with patients By Nora Caley


iabetes care is providing a gateway for better interaction between pharmacists and patients. At least that is what many industry officials have said, noting that people with diabetes visit the retail pharmacy not only to have their prescriptions filled, but also to learn more about blood sugar levels, A1C testing and selfcare. Pharmacists also have to face the challenges of keeping costs down, not just for the retailer, but for the patients as well. “The pharmacist is the front line,” said Casey Pflieger, marketing director at Owen


Mumford North America, which makes the Unifine brand of pen needles. “The more they can repeat best practices, the more likely it is that the patient will be compliant. Patient compliance is critical in having better patient outcomes, not just for the patient, but for the overall healthcare system.” Manufacturers said many of the latest innovations can help. The product launches help make blood glucose testing easier, more comfortable and more affordable. As a result, patients can be encouraged to improve their self-care, and also reduce certain costs.

“The biggest game changer in diabetes management is the elimination of finger pricks,” Rick Doubleday, chief commercial officer at San Diego-based Dexcom, said. “Continuous glucose monitoring has gotten so accurate, so trustworthy, that patients can make treatment decisions based on the information it provides.” The company’s latest iteration of its product, the Dexcom G6, uses a wearable band and an app, so that the iOS user can ask Siri what his or her glucose level is. The system also sends alerts, and the patient can share readings with up to 10 people.


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HEALTH | DIABETES The opportunity for pharmacy staff members, Doubleday said, is that CGM can help them engage with patients. “There is still not broad awareness of CGM for people using insulin, and the pharmacist is a trusted member of their care team,” he said. “Pharmacists who share this info frequently are moving their customers to this newer, life-changing technology.” People with diabetes have better outcomes when they test as directed. Tampa, Fla.-based Smart Meter conducted a pilot study that tested the benefits of remote monitoring of real-time blood glucose data using the company’s iGlucose Cellular Diabetes Care Solution. In the three-month study, 60 participants in the Washington, D.C., area agreed to have their blood glucose level monitored remotely with the interactive iGlucose system. Among the results: 89% of participants said testing was less of a hassle with iGlucose, and there was a 44% improvement in the frequency of testing. There also were improvements related to productivity, Brahim Zabeli, vice president of sales at Smart Meter, said. By using a web portal, the patient did not have to see the provider face to face very often, which saved time and money for both. “Greater involvement in the patient’s health care can improve patient results and hopefully, in the process, buy greater loyalty to the pharmacy that they happen to be working with,” he said. Health care is moving in this direction, Zabeli said. “There are more than a few pharmacy chains that hire pharmacists not to fill prescriptions, but to work on phones, do medication management, and, when they see an issue, they can call the patient or call the healthcare provider.”

device. Genteel is a vacuum blood draw device that can be used on fingers and other body parts. The product uses a vacuum and precise depth control to painlessly get the right amount of blood every time without having to re-poke or squeeze the test site. Genteel only reaches the blood capillaries just under the skin surface, but not the pain nerves, which are deeper, Jacobs said. “Genteel is the next innovative product in the industry without the need for high-tech electronics or something permanently attached to a patient’s arm,” Jacobs said. “For the first time, those with diabetes can painlessly test their blood sugar not just from fingers, but anywhere on their body they choose without anxiety or pain.” He also said the device is the world’s only stand-alone FDA-cleared lancing device for alternate site testing. It also won a DSN/ ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award at ECRM in May. Genteel has been available online for five years, and a new model of Genteel soon will be available in retail stores.

The need for safe disposal of the needles, or sharps, is another factor that is driving innovation in diabetes care. There has been some legislation related to safe needle disposal. In 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 212, which establishes a comprehensive take-back system for sharps and medications. “California is leading the charge,” Holly Hartshorn, director of marketing at Excelsior, Minn.based UltiMed, said. “It’s starting to pick up traction.” Retailers and patients typically have to buy special containers for the discarded needles, which already adds to high costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report, the average medical expenditures for people with diagnosed diabetes were about $13,700 per year. To help alleviate some of this, UltiMed offers the UltiGuard Safe Pack, which contains 100 premium pen needles or syringes and also acts as a sharps container. Once a

Needle Innovations

Among the most important innovations in diabetes care are devices that make it easier and less painful for people to check their blood sugar levels. “When a lancing device does not hurt, people will test more often, improving their health and potentially lowering their A1C,” said Christopher Jacobs, founder of the company Genteel in West Linn, Ore., and inventor of the Genteel



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HEALTH | DIABETES needle has been used, the person can pop it in the top, drop and roll it safely out the way. “It’s super easy and super convenient all in one,” Hartshorn said. The container helps prevent used needles from entering the waste stream, helps keep people safe from accidental needle sticks, and helps pharmacies save time and money. “We’re finding pharmacists are asked to do more and more with less,” Hartshorn said. “With this product, we hope to make it easy for them to do all those additional things they are being asked to do.” UltiMed recently launched a campaign to educate pharmacists and consumers about the UltiGuard Safe Pack, including a mini site and video that viewers can watch online and request a free sample. Owen Mumford also is innovating in the needle space. The company’s Unifine Pentips Plus are needles that also have a built-in pen needle remover to make using them safer and more convenient. If patients don’t have immediate access to a sharps container, the pen needle has a removal chamber built into its casing that’s meant to hold the used needle until it can be disposed of safely. “Diabetes patients have to carry a lot of tools in their kit, including pen needles. Once the needle is used, it has to be properly disposed of in a sharps container. But many patients, especially those on the go, repeatedly use the same needle, which poses additional health risks,” Owen Mumford’s Pflieger said. “By incorporating a built in removal chamber on one of the sides of the outer casing, this device gives patients accessibility and convenience — and the freedom of not having to carry a sharps container when they are on the go.”

Beyond Testing and Injecting

An effective barrier bandage also helps protect the patient and the caregiver. Bowling Green, Ky.-based Injection Safety Industries manufactures Inject-Safe Barrier Bandages, which self seal to help contain bleeding after an injection. The bandage is placed on the patient’s skin before the injection, and the healthcare provider injects a needle through the bandage. The caregiver is protected from blood-borne pathogens and the


help people with poor circulation, but many of the socks on the market are difficult to put on, Michelle Moran, CEO and founder, said. Skineez socks, made with what the company said is a medical-grade hydrating material, are infused with skin care ingredients retinol to increase elasticity and tighten skin; shea butter as a skin moisturizer; apricot kernel oil to soothe and calm irritated skin; vitamins A and E, which have a nourishing effect; and rose hip oil for its rejuvenating powers. Retailers merchandise Skineez socks within their diabetic assortments or even in the skin care section. The socks are Medicare and Medicaid reimbursable. “The average person with diabetes has 10 pairs of diabetic socks,” Moran said. “It’s a necessary sock.”

The Future

patient’s injection site is protected by the sterile barrier bandage. The Inject-Safe Barrier Bandage also is useful for people who need to administer self-injection. “We have started to get calls from a significant number of diabetics who discovered the Inject-Safe Barrier Bandage at pharmacies while getting their immunization,” Mark Harris, CEO of Injection Safety, said. “It turns out diabetics like the bandage for cosmetic reasons. It prevents blood from getting onto the diabetic person’s clothing.” The company offers 100-count boxes for healthcare providers, and has recently unveiled a 25-count box at retail for consumers. “Many pharmacists become the initial contact for how to properly inject, so the bandage would be an ideal item to include in the initial training kit supplies for individuals to self inject,” Harris said. There also are opportunities for retailers to offer consumers other supplies, including socks. One of the newest products from Sudbury Mass.-based Skineez Skincarewear is Medical Grade Hydrating Compression Socks. Compression socks are designed to

The use of data is changing diabetes care, as people with diabetes are able to capture more data than ever. Artificial intelligence will play a role in the near future. “At the moment, digital diabetes solutions can provide personalized recommendations based on an individual’s blood glucose readings,” Elaine Anderson, head of marketing at Ascensia Diabetes Care’s BGM mature markets business unit, said. “As the processing of this data becomes more sophisticated through the use of machine learning and AI, digital solutions will be able to provide predictive insights and associated management recommendations.” The company makes the blood glucose monitoring system Contour Next One. Anderson also said that in the future, multiple sources of data will be able to be combined in one system to provide more holistic recommendations and to remotely coach people about their diabetes. The technology will help people with diabetes to better manage their condition and reduce complications. “Access to this wealth of data can also help pharmacists and healthcare professionals better support patients, as they will know more about their condition, their needs and their medication use,” Anderson said. “They can therefore tailor advice, recommendations and support to that individual, providing a more personalized service.”dsn


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Ascensia Introduces Contour Next One The Contour Next One is the most accurate blood glucose monitoring system developed by Ascensia Diabetes Care to date. The system features a wireless-enabled smart meter that seamlessly connects to a smart mobile device via Bluetooth. The meter provides immediate feedback through smartLight technology and the Contour Diabetes app collects, stores and analyses patient blood glucose results received from the meter. This latest version of the Contour Diabetes app includes the new My Patterns feature, which uses innovative algorithms to analyze blood glucose results received from the Contour Next One meter more intelligently, and delivers personalized, meaningful feedback to patients. This feedback is designed to help patients improve diabetes self-management and maintain positive lifestyle changes, the company said.

Prodigy Starter Kit Helps Reduce Patient Costs

Owen Mumford Products Get Thinner, More Convenient Owen Mumford, maker of Unifine pen needles and one of the largest pen needle manufacturers in North America, recently launched Unifine Pentips Plus and the Unistik 3 Travel Lancets. The company said the products deliver convenience, while offering a safer, more convenient alternative for today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle, and they do this relatively inexpensively. This year, Owen Mumford also launched its thinnest pen needle ever, Unifine 33G. The needle is 10% thinner than 4 mm by 33 gauge, which makes it the thinnest pen needle available through a major national brand in the United States. Coming soon are additional pen needle sizes to address market demand, including a needle to make drug delivery more efficient for highly viscous medications.


Prodigy has a new diabetes starter kit that provides pharmacies a new way to offer affordable blood glucose testing to people with diabetes. The Prodigy 100-count Test Strips with Free AutoCode Talking Meter Kit is designed to minimize inventory costs to the pharmacy while, at the same time, provide a state of the art talking blood glucose meter, test strips and lancing device at a low cost to the patient, the company said. This complete kit will allow many patients to start testing for under $15-to$19 if they do not have insurance. It also is billable as a 100-count test strip for Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance. This helps people control their diabetes disease state and supports efforts to make diabetes care more affordable. The package contains 100 Prodigy No Coding Blood Glucose Test Strips, one Prodigy AutoCode Blood Glucose Meter, 10-count Prodigy Twist Top Lancets, one Prodigy Adjustable Depth Lancing Device, a carrying case, two AAA batteries, a quick reference guide, an owner’s manual, a warranty card, and a log book.


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Opening New Doors Highlighting the innovators in general merchandise By Carol Radice


iguring out the ideal assortment for any category is part science and part intuition, with a healthy dose of flexibility thrown in. As a result, products and categories that once were overlooked within some retail formats now are being considered as vehicles to drive growth. When it comes to general merchandise, some would have retailers believe such complex tools as sophisticated algorithms are the single best way to determine your customer-driven strategy. Others said the best assortments come when retailers know that consumers want products to make their lives and daily tasks easier and more enjoyable — as well as a little more efficient. This month, DSN recognizes the general merchandise companies that have taken consumers’ needs to heart. In addition to launching on-trend products, these companies are among those that understand how to best work with their retail partners to differentiate themselves from other merchants. Here are DSN’s Retail Excellence Awards - General Merchandise winners:



Becoming one of the top greeting card companies requires an industry-leading portfolio, with a blend of deep consumer insights, diverse cultural messaging and an understanding of cross-generational sending — something American Greetings knows well. Officials at American Greetings consider themselves experts in meaningful connections. By differentiating their products from the competition, they said, the company continues to earn high marks for its quality, comprehensive offering and top-level retail partnerships. “By applying our consumer insights into our brand portfolio, we’ve continued to unlock the preferences of each generation and serve the increasingly complex needs of today’s diverse and modern consumer base,” Steve Laserson, senior vice president of North American sales at the Cleveland-based company, said. A number of ways that American Greetings is winning at retail starts with attracting shoppers to the greeting card aisle. The company’s research showed that 77% of impulse purchases are triggered by seeing the card department. To address this, American Greetings continues to create distinctive products, as well as help retailers develop well-positioned, prominent departments and easy-to-find cards, all of which is resulting in more consumers shopping the card aisle. “Those same consumers are looking for the opportunity to acknowledge diversity and individuality to empower the card recipient, so we’re responding with fun yet innovative cards that celebrate what makes each of us unique, Laserson said. This spring, American Greetings released Music + Motion + More!, a card line that pairs bold audio with the latest motion technology for a new card experience that captures the element of surprise. “In an effort to provide new-to-the-world innovation

to cards, American Greetings continues to develop fun and exciting products that deliver on engagement while generating productivity,” Laserson said.


Ontario, Calif.-based Calico Brands is best known for its array of lighter products offered in a range of designs, colors and styles. The company’s Scripto brand includes innovative multipurpose lighters with a variety of features, including squeeze grip ignition, adjustable flame, windresistant torch flame, flexible nozzle, and a refillable, folding mechanism. Calico Brands also has a wide variety of sparkwheel and electronic disposable pocket lighters. The company’s product innovation and technological advancements can be seen in its new Scripto Ultima pocket lighter. Offered in a number of colors and wrap designs, Ultima has up to 3,000 lights on full-size lighters, greater fuel capacity compared with the leading brand, a premium sparkwheel design that allows for comfortable ignition, visible fuel supply, adjustable


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GENERAL MERCHANDISE | REX AWARDS 2019 flame, and is made with polycarbonate material able to withstand impact and high heat, company officials said. The company also has launched its Scripto EZ-Squeeze multipurpose lighter line, the first squeeze grip ignition lighter that features new adult friendly squeeze technology and a refillable tank. In addition to these features, its torch flame model stays lit in windy conditions.


steel cleaner and polish, bathroom and tile cleaner, furniture cleaner and polish, as well as a dust and mop treatment. All meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for Safer Choice labeling, are made from biodegradable ingredients, were not tested on animals, and are in recyclable containers. They are free of harsh chemicals and leave no residue or fumes. “Champion Sprayon Green World N products are the first full line of Safer Choice-labeled green cleaners and polishes with a continuous spray system. These green products use natural nitrogen propellant, and the Safer Choice label means that every ingredient in the product has been reviewed by EPA scientists,” Anthony Albazi, corporate sales director, said.


Designer Greetings also offers a gift wrap line, Glitterwrap, which includes gift bags, roll wrap, flat wrap, bows, ribbon and stickers. The company also produces packaged invitations and thank you notes, as well as boxed notes. Later this year, the company will be releasing a new line of stationery products, including journals and datebooks inspired by Designer Greetings’ 2018 acquisition of Madison Park Greetings. “Data has shown that these tactile products are a favorite among the millennial group of purchasers, which is contrary to their thirst for technology,” CFO Dawn Garvey said. In addition to Madison Park Greetings, Designer Greetings has made other strategic business acquisitions with well-known international brands Palm Press and Northern Exposure. Both of these are leaders in the photographic line of greeting cards.


Founded in 1927, Chase Products produces a variety of products, ranging from household to personal care, but it is perhaps most known for its full range of private label and branded cleaning products. Armed with more than 90 years of experience and knowledge, the company’s products were created to meet retailers’ and consumers’ ever-changing needs. The privately held company focuses on sustainability and constantly refines its formulas, propellants, packaging and procedures with this in mind. It also is vertically integrated, which officials said allows it to handle every aspect of manufacturing to insure its mission of producing cost-effective, quality-driven products always is met. Among the products the Broadview, Ill.based company offers are a line of green cleaners sold under its Champion Sprayon Green World N label. The line includes a glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, stainless


Designer Greetings, a family-owned and -operated company founded in 1982, produces one of the most extensive greeting card lines in the industry. The Edison, N.J.based company’s card lines include more than 22,000 designs in a range of styles from traditional and humorous to sympathy. Designer Greetings’ new line, called “A Little Salty,” is designed to meet a perennially high demand for humorous cards with edgy, topical, political and trendy humor. Each card comes with a matching signature envelope that adds a playful finishing touch, company officials said.

Having your finger on the pulse of what consumers want is one of many reasons Hallmark continues to thrive in an ever-shifting market. Consistently, the company has achieved high scores from U.S. consumers for its on-trend and cutting-edge products. Its portfolio is one of the largest of any card manufacturer. Each year, Hallmark puts out nearly 10,000 new and redesigned greeting cards. Hallmark cards are sold in more than 40,000 retail outlets nationwide, including food, drug, mass, discount and


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GENERAL MERCHANDISE | REX AWARDS 2019 grocery stores. Globally, its cards are available in more than 30 languages and more than 100 countries. The Kansas City, Mo.-based company was recently named Greeting Card Brand of the Year in Harris Poll’s 2019 EquiTrend Study, making it the ninth consecutive year the company achieved this honor. “In today’s increasingly divisive society, people are looking for ways to inject more caring and positivity into the world than ever before,” Amy McAnarney, vice president and general manager, key accounts and business development, said. The breadth of its assortment is another reason Hallmark products are sought out. The company constantly strives to rethink the greeting card format, in part by creating value-add appeal. For example, in May, Hallmark had more than 1,200 Mother’s Day cards to choose from, including an expanded selection of Paper Wonder pop-up cards. This line of intricate, artistic cards


looks to add a new dimension and unique storytelling through memorable paper craft artwork in 35 different designs that doubles as a keepsake for mom.


Lamb Chop, Globlet the Polka Dot Pig and Loofa Dog are just a few of the pet

toys Multipet International has become synonymous with over the years. In addition to producing these popular favorites, the company’s range of products includes a large assortment of plush and latex toys, as well as grooming and catnip items. Additionally, with its recently launched Komoto division, the company now offers products for reptiles, as well. Leslie Yellin, executive vice president of the East Rutherford, N.J.-based company, said of all the products the company produces, Lamb Chop stands out as a consumer favorite. “Pet parents are attracted to nostalgic toys, so we designed this one to represent the original Lamb Chop, but adjusted some of the materials and added squeakers to make it appealing to pets,” Yellin said. “Although the original Lamb Chop debuted in 1960, its loyalty extends to all generations.” Multipet designed Lamb Chop in a variety of sizes so it could be selected for any dog.


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Ontel Products is among a select group of companies producing “As Seen On TV” products. Its lines cross more than a dozen general merchandise and personal care categories. Recognizing this is very much a wants- and needs-driven category, the company invests large amounts of time and capital in search of the next great hit. Much of the inspiration for its innovation comes from consumer research and internal product development. Aside from research, the key to Ontel’s success, according to officials, is its investment in consumer education through direct-to-consumer TV, websites and social media. This strategy enables the company to distinguish its brands from similar products in the market. Ontel achieves this by giving consumers a clear understanding of a product’s features and benefits via a short three-minute segment and a longer 30-minute one. Craig Jordan, senior vice president of sales and customer solutions for the Fairfield, N.J. company, said Ontel is able to remain competitive because its products are made to the highest standards possible, and every step is taken to ensure they deliver products that will receive a 4.5-to-5 star rating from consumers. Ontel’s latest launches include Pillow Pad, a media device support accessory; Huggle Pets, a stuffed pet that unfolds into a fleece play character hoodie; Mighty Sight, magnification eyewear with built-in rechargeable LED lights; and Handy Bright, a handheld LED magnetic work light.

REDBARN PET PRODUCTS Family-owned Redbarn Pet Products is best known for its Chewy Louie line of dog treats and chews. While Redbarn’s product assortment includes many proprietary products and processes, what truly sets it apart is the company’s industry leading quality assurance programs. For more than 20 years, the Long Beach, Calif.-based company has invested both time and money hiring innovative scientists and product development teams, building two company owned and operated manufacturing plants and two quality assurance labs. The company’s objective with Chewie Louie was to create a line that offered a range of flavors, shapes and sizes to appeal to a variety of dog needs. Jeff Toy, the company’s vice president of sales, said Chewy Louie was designed for the on-the-go dog mom, who wants to bring home responsibly-sourced, nutritious, high-quality chews for her pets, but doesn’t have time for an additional stop at the local pet specialty store. “Simply put, Chewy Louie offers top value for dog parents — premium chews made in company-owned facilities with quality assurance programs that exceed industry standards,” Toy said. “Knowing every Chewy Louie product is carefully designed to be a safe chew, tested for quality, and beautifully packaged for a premium feel should not only bring peace of mind to on-the-go dog parents, but encourage repeat purchases.”


Select-A-Vision/SAV Eyewear has been providing consumers with nonprescription reading glasses and sunglasses for more than 30 years. Its collection of fashionable eyewear with multiple features and benefits — combined with its innovative display fixtures — sets SAV Eyewear apart from others offering similar products. “While operating in a competitive market, we experience continued success with our reading glasses featuring antireflective coating, which eliminates glare, as well as our blue light protective lenses,” Janet Beckman, product manager at the Collegeville, Pa.-based company, said. This year, the company introduced TriFocus Blue Light Readers, which offer the benefits of progressive readers with the added protection of filtering out blue light emitted by electronic devices, Beckman said. The glasses were introduced in response to several studies, which have shown that extended exposure to blue light can have detrimental effects, causing your eyes to struggle to focus, which can lead to headaches, eye fatigue and insomnia. These same studies show long-term exposure can lead to more serious conditions, such as macular degeneration and vision loss. “We are constantly striving to not only improve the quality and features of our products, but to provide fashion-forward options for our customers,” Beckman said. Additionally, later this year, the company is launching Cosmopolitan Blue Light Readers. Given the success of its other Blue Light Readers, Beckman said it seemed only natural to introduce a fashion line with trending frame shapes and colors offering the same benefits. “Creating innovative eyewear allows us to stay ahead of the competition and differentiate ourselves, while keeping up with the current fashion trends,” she said. dsn


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Reassessing the Customer Service Smile Is it nice to have, or a must-have? By David Orgel

W David Orgel is an awardwinning business journalist, industry expert and speaker. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries.


hat happens when you ask for help in a store, and you don’t get a smile from the customer service associate? What if the store employee isn’t even friendly? We often think that being positive and smiling is the ideal for these associates. However, there are unintended consequences when employees feel they have to remain positive even during difficult customer interactions. Maybe you’re thinking this isn’t the most pressing topic in retail today, but it’s actually quite timely and important. New research from Penn State University and the University at Buffalo raises this issue and points to danger signs for employees. The study found that “surface acting” by customer-facing employees who are suppressing emotions could increase their risks for heavier drinking after work. The research delved into the drinking habits of employees who work with the public — from food service workers to nurses and teachers. It turns out the greatest impact is on workers who have “one-time service encounters with customers,” compared with those involved in deeper, more regular relationships like in health care or education. In an official release about the results, Alicia Grandey, professor of psychology at Penn State, said employers may want to reconsider “service with a smile” policies. All of this has big implications for the retail industry, where customer service generally focuses on one-time encounters. Years ago, this issue would not have received a lot of attention. Unhappy retail associates would either deal with their frustrations or get out of customer service. Yet today, everything is being reexamined, and there’s more of an emphasis on authenticity in workplace cultures, especially by younger shoppers and associates. I’ll admit it, I like getting a customer service smile, but not when it seems false or forced.

I sought more insights from one of the study’s coauthors, Robert Melloy, who is senior people scientist at Culture Amp, a company that helps organizations to better manage employee experience and “turn company culture into a competitive advantage.” He told me employees often feel less depleted if customer interactions “don’t have to involve killing them with kindness.” However, even if employers are reticent to relax expectations about positive interactions, they can introduce workplace strategies that ease the burdens of associates. “The more employers can structure the employees’ work in a more positive way, the more those employees will feel positive, and not have to fake emotions to customers,” Melloy said. “If they are excited to come to work, employees will feel more naturally positive.” This might be accomplished, he said, through strategies like providing “brief recovery breaks,” and giving associates more autonomy over how they handle situations. I believe these are important points, especially as retailers aim to make themselves into employers of choice. Meanwhile, I’m willing to forgo a smile or “surface acting,” especially if I find associates are willing to listen to my questions, provide expertise about the store and its offerings, and show creativity in helping to solve my issues. That’s what will get me to come back the next time. For example, customers have access to smartphones and other devices, so why shouldn’t associates be empowered to use technology to help shoppers? Here’s a closing perspective. I recently asked a highly perceptive retailer if he feels customer service employees need to be wearing regular smiles. His answer gave me pause, because it seemed so completely on target. He said, “What’s important is that it’s our job to make the customer smile. If the customer leaves smiling, we’ve done our job.” Now there’s a perspective that’s hard to disagree with. dsn


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