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Volume 42 No. 8


Drug Store News August 2020

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Made for active lifestyles, this solid sport stick helps relieve pain from minor muscle and joint distress, which is why Rob prefers it for his hips, forearms, and ankles.

Created with ingredients from nature, this muscle and joint spray is there for your sore spots and bodily needs. Rob uses it on his knees and neck for temporary relief.

This penetrating massage oil was designed to soothe sore muscles with ease. Rob prefers it because he can really work it into his quads, and brings it with him on the road.


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Men’s grooming keeps growing P. 100

DSN takes a look at the hottest markets in the country

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Our Family for Every Family We've been a family owned company since our founding in 1979. We've seen a lot in 40 years, but some values never change. We run our business with honesty, integrity, and hard work. Those values allow us to bring high quality OTC products to customers’ medicine cabinets and profits to retailers. We are proud to offer our family of heritage brands to every family.

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Vol. 42 No. 8 DrugStoreNews.com

FEATURES 10 Industry News 28 Focus On: Charlotte’s Web 46 Selfcare Roadmap Insights Post-op shopper insights powered by GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s and HRG’s Selfcare Roadmap Insights tool

48 Products to Watch 50 CBD News 54 Cover Story: Hot Markets


Outlining the top 12 cities presenting big opportunities for retailers right now



8 Editor’s Note 30 One-on-One with KNAPP’s Brian Sullivan

32 One-on-One with Mybite Vitamins’ Kate Jones

34 One-on-One with Boiron USA’s Ray Petrick

36 One-on-One

44 Counter Talk

88 Counter Talk with PTCB’s William Schimmel

90 Counter Talk with Union University College of Pharmacy’s George DeMaagd

with Bavis Drive-Thru’s William Sieber

38 One-on-One

110 Last Word with David Orgel Consulting’s David Orgel

with Designer Greetings’ Steven Gimbelman

40 One-on-One with Pharma Logistics’ Jeffrey Swanson

PHARMACY 76 Safety First How automation and tech help pharmacies keep patients safe

42 Counter Talk with The Lacek Group’s Tess MacGibbon


with Supplylogix’s Nathan Chapman

92 News

HEALTH 96 First Aid Preparedness shopping and trendy, customizable first aid kits fuel the category

INSIDE BEAUTY 100 Men’s Grooming Men’s personal care and grooming routine expands as the pandemic wears on

106 Men’s Grooming Product 108 News

106 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 rate in the United States: $125 one year; $230 two year; $14 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $150 one year; $270 two year; $16 single issue copy; Foreign: $170 one year; $325 two year; $16 single issue copy. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to DSN, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Vol. 42 No. 8, August 2020. Copyright © 2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.



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Are Fewer Options Better? As manufacturers cull their product offerings, can retailers continue to deliver on variety? By Seth Mendelson


re retailers and suppliers ready to give up on a strategy that got them to the promised land? Gee, I hope not. In mid-July, The New York Times published an article that discussed the growing trend of many suppliers cutting back on the number of products they produce and deliver to retail stores. The article stated that such manufacturers as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey and many others have temporarily discontinued some of their Seth Mendelson assortment during the COVID-19 pandemic, probably for Editor in Chief/ a couple of reasons. Associate Publisher One is that they do not have the capacity to make as many products as they did just a few short pre-COVID months ago due to necessary steps taken to protect factory workers from the virus, and to be as efficient as possible. The second is that consumers, who are eager to get in and out of mass retail stores as quickly as possible, just want to stick to the basics. For right now, that works. Everyone has to change their business strategy during difficult times and, in my humble opinion, I really cannot see it getting much worse than it is today. At this point, do we really need 20 different types of Cheerios and Special K in the cereal aisle, or 10 types of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the candy lane, or 20 varieties of yogurt in the refrigerated section? That is especially true as we all digest the fact that shoppers have gotten used to dealing with the out-of-stock issues that come with the territory of living during a pandemic. But, when things return to relative normal — and they will — one can only hope that suppliers and retailers understand that what makes shopping in retail stores exciting is the possibility of new and unique items on store shelves. American consumers want choices, they want variety and they want them on retail shelves. Retailers and suppliers that fail to deliver that to the shopper will risk losing customers over the long-term. In time, factories will gear up again. Consumers will trek back into stores on a regular basis and retailers will go back to the business of merchandising. While this may be wishful thinking on my part, I long for the days when retailers had to make the hard decision of what products to stock on their limited amount of shelf space and suppliers fought for real estate. dsn

When things return to relative normal — and they will — one can only hope that suppliers and retailers understand that what makes shopping in retail stores exciting is the possibility of new and unique items on store shelves.


An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 Senior Vice President, Publisher John Kenlon (516) 650-2064, jkenlon@ensembleiq.com Editor in Chief /Associate Publisher Seth Mendelson (212) 756-5160, smendelson@ensembleiq.com EDITORIAL 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 Northeast Manager Alex Tomas (212) 756-5155, atomas@ensembleiq.com Regional Manager Steven Werner (312) 961-7162 swerner@ensembleiq.com Beauty Sales and Marketing Manager Delaney Renker (616)-644-4495 drenker@ensembleiq.com Production Manager Jackie Batson (224) 632-8183, jbatson@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 AUDIENCE LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti 914-309-3378 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES/CUSTOMER CARE TOLL-FREE: 1-877-687-7321 FAX: 1-888-520-3608 contact@drugstorenews.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Jane Volland Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several Senior Vice President, Content Joe Territo


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Ocean Blue Delivers New Product

Organic India Focuses on Fiber Organic India USA has introduced its Psyllium Pre & Probiotic Fiber in three SKUS: orange, cinnamon spice and original. A 10-oz. package has a suggested retail price of $15.99. The Boulder, Colo.-based company offers consumers “the most beneficial fiber source on the market,” said CEO Miguel Gil. “Science supports the findings that a healthy gut is the key to robust immune health. We are listening to our consumers, who are searching for innovative products that contribute to overall digestive health, with added versatility like incorporating into baking.” The new product offers several benefits, including organic prebiotic fiber to nourish beneficial gut bacteria; Triphala, a classic blend of three Ayurvedic herbs — amla, bibhitaki and haritaki — to aid in digestion and nutrient assimilation; and heat-stable probiotics that support a healthy gut microbiome, changing the game on how easily probiotics can be incorporated into one’s daily diet. The three flavors adapt naturally to baking, mixing into meals or blending into smoothies. This product is gluten-free, vegan, and keto- and paleo-friendly. “This is a great product that can help retailers develop incremental sales,” Gil said. “Many consumers, including older shoppers, are coming into stores looking for these types of products. It will help retailers build stronger ties with their shoppers.”

Ocean Blue is adding Omega-3 2100 with CoQ10 to its lineup. The product is a professional-strength omega-3 fatty acid supplement with 150 mg of coenzyme Q10. According to John Licari, the Delray Beach, Fla.-based company’s vice president of marketing, it is the highest-concentration omega-3 fish oil available on the market. He said that the product supports heart health and blood circulation and, with a healthy diet and exercise, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. A 90-capsule package of the product, good for one month, has a suggested retail price of $43.95. “Consumer demand for this type of product is on the rise,” Licari said. “As we all get older, we are all looking for products that will help us live our lives better. We produce less statin as we age, and consumers often have to get a prescription for it. Our new product can help consumers in this regard.”

Snickers Mashup Channels Classic Brownie Flavor There’s a new Snickers bar in town. The latest from Newark, N.J.based Mars’ candy bar brand is the Snickers Peanut Brownie. Featuring two individual squares coated in the brand’s classic chocolate, it also contains a layer of caramel and a chewy peanut brownie filling. Though not officially launching until January 2021, the company released 1,000 early boxes on July 15 for Snickers fans, who will receive a sneak peak as early as September. “Snickers and brownies are two of America’s favorite treats, and we know people love both for the deliciousness and comfort that they bring. So, what could be better than putting them together?” Josh Olken, brand director at Snickers, said. “We’re excited to release our exclusive first batch of Snickers Peanut Brownie for our biggest


fans to taste. It’s sure to be a delicious treat that brings the ultimate satisfaction.” Snickers Peanut Brownie will be available in single bars, share-size bars and sharing stand-up pouches.


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Nature’s Truth Puts Immunity Front and Center With immunity growing in importance and consumer interest, Nature’s Truth will be working to rise to the occasion with a focus on products meant to help boost immunity. Particularly with the ongoing pandemic, the company said it wanted to offer year-round immune support products. “We want our customers to know we are here for them,” said Kimberly Vigliante, senior vice president of wholesale sales and marketing at Nature’s Truth. “Today’s ‘new normal’ is unprecedented and times have been challenging. Consumers are putting their health first and taking a proactive approach, which includes supplementing with key vitamins.”


Nature’s Truth said it is investing heavily in such supplements as elderberry, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc to ensure retailers can stock products to meet consumer demand. Additionally, the Ronkonkoma, N.Y.based brand is planning to unveil two new immune complexes this fall — one of which will be the honey- and lemon-flavored Immune Support gummy that combines vitamin D, manuka honey and zinc. “Manuka honey is growing in popularity, especially in the immune segment, so including it in this new gummy gives the consumer an efficacious product with the trending ingredient they are looking for in an exciting new form,” Vigliante said. As it plans to introduce new products, Nature’s Truth also is adding to its existing line. The new Black Elderberry Immune Complex Chewable features a natural mixed berry flavor and combines elderberry, vitamin C and Zinc.


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MedZone Receives DSN/ECRM Award at Health Care Virtual Session MedZone won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Face Balm for Masks at ECRM’s Health Care Virtual Session in July. Welly was a finalist for its Bravery Bandages. Buyers who evaluated dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. MedZone, a family-owned company based in Lenexa, Kan., offers four lines of products in the categories of sports medicine, hand sanitizers and PPE, health and fitness topicals, and women’s skin care, with all of its manufacturing done in the United States. This is the company’s second Buyers’ Choice Award win. It won last year for its Chub Rub anti-chafe stick. The product it won for this year takes its heritage as a developer of anti-chafing and skin care products for athletes, and brought it to bear on a solution for mask-induced chafing that customers were asking for. The result was Face Balm for Mask, an all-natural, gentle anti-chafe formula for use on the face and packaged in a portable container. “The wearing of masks applies to so many people nowadays that we wanted to create a product that helps anyone who wears a mask for any reason to reduce the redness, friction and chafing that can occur,” said Joe Freeman, CEO of MedZone. “The reception of the buyers at the ECRM Virtual Session was outstanding. Everyone saw the need, understood our expertise in the anti-chafing world and liked the packaging. The responses were immediate, and we are

working on orders now from major retailers. Face balm is a needed product in the market now, and our team is working diligently to keep up with the demand and continue to deliver great products and awesome service.” “This is a product that works for everyone, from the doctors and nurses who must keep masks on all day, to the business people, teachers and other workers who also keep their masks on for extended hours,” Freeman said. “With this product, we can prevent the friction that comes with wearing masks and make it more comfortable for the user to wear.” Welly manufactures a premium line of first aid supplies to address first aid needs with the goal of making first aid fun, durable and perfect for active lifestyle seekers of all ages. Its Bravery Badges are sold in stackable tins containing 48 flex-fabric bandages in three bold tie-dye patterns and colors. The bandages, which come in three sizes, seal on all four sides and are twice as absorbent than other brands, according to the company.

Lafe’s Natural BodyCare Adds Natural Baby Line Lafe’s Natural BodyCare’s latest product is looking out for baby. The Austin, Texas-based company is expanding its selection with a new USDA Certified Organic Baby Care line. The nine-SKU line is offered in two scents — jasmine and grapefruit and vanilla — on the company’s website, lafes.com. Lafe’s Baby Care line includes organic shampoo and washes, organic spray moisturizers, nourishing lotions, a zinc-free diaper balm, and a deet-free organic insect repellent. The products are scented with essential oils, and the lotions are made with more than 60% USDA Certified Organic ingredients. “We first set out to create a baby care product line made with natural and organic ingredients years ago because there were mostly toxic product options available,” said Lafe Larson, founder of Lafe’s Natural BodyCare. “Today, many claim to be ‘natural’ yet include everything from parabens and dyes to petroleum and sulfates. That’s unacceptable to us.” Larson said that in his 25 years of running the brand, the focus


has been on nontoxic personal care products. Currently, Lafe’s offers more than 60 daily-use products. The baby line was designed to be organic and hypoallergenic, so products would be safe to use on sensitive skin. The baby products, which are free of GMOs and gluten, are vegan and cruelty-free. As part of the launch, Lafe’s offered a 25% discount online for customers’ first order with the code Lafe25. “Our No. 1 goal at Lafe’s is to make it as affordable as possible for someone to choose the safest ingredients for themselves and their family.” Larson said.


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UpSpring Unveils Preconception Supplements UpSpring’s latest product is making room for dad in its selection of mom- and baby-focused offerings. The Austin, Texas-based brand is introducing its HeNatal Preconception Vitamin for Men, which is meant to support sperm health and fertility. HeNatal Preconception Vitamin for Men includes such ingredients as vitamins C and E, antioxidants to support cell protection and other key nutrients meant to promote sperm quality. The product was formulated by Marianne Legato, a physician who has taught at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She also is the director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which she founded in 2006. “HeNatal was designed to provide nutritional and antioxidant support for healthy sperm to combat the high oxidative stress associated with male infertility, and capitalize on the window of opportunity of sperm turnover to produce healthy sperm before conception,” Legato said. “Sperm quality can be impacted by poor diet and a lack of adequate antioxidants, as well as environmental toxins and stress, which is why it is so imperative that men have access to a high quality prenatal supplement like HeNatal to support their body during this crucial time.” The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that roughly 12 to 13 out of 100 couples in the United States have difficulty with conception, and 2015 research published in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences noted that male infertility, which often is attributed to issues with semen quality, accounts for roughly 40% to 50% of infertility. UpSpring said that because new sperm are produced every 42 to 76 days, there is an opportunity to improve sperm quality before conception. “The prenatal market has historically been dominated by products marketed to women, but given conception is truly a team effort, we feel there is an unmet need for a product like HeNatal,” said Lisa Williamson, co-founder and CEO of UpSpring. “We believe male preconception health is just as important as a woman’s, and we could not be more proud to establish UpSpring as a leader in this emerging category.” HeNatal vitamins are meant to be started at least 90 days prior to conception and should be taken until conception occurs. It retails for $39.99 on the UpSpring website and Amazon.com.


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Nature’s Willow Tackles Natural Pain Relief Nature’s Willow CEO David Knox said that the Cincinnati-based company’s two products, Willow Balm and Bug Bite Balm, are designed to offer natural relief to consumers, utilizing a three-pronged approach. He said that the products contain white willow bark, a natural pain reliever; helichrysum, an anti-inflammatory; and essential oils to give consumers products that quickly relieve symptoms. A 3.5-fl.-oz. container of Willow Balm, a pain-relieving cream for arthritis, back pain and sore bones and joints, has a suggested retail price of $10, while a 0.5-fl.-oz. container of Bug Bite Balm has a suggested retail price of $6. “This is going to do well at retail for several reasons,” Knox said. “First, about 44% of pain sufferers are looking for natural relief products and they are not finding them at retail. Second, during this COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are looking for and focusing on selfcare wellness products. Our products fit the bill and will help drive sales at retail.”

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Neutrogena’s Latest Collection Concentrates on the Scalp

Hyland’s Centers Arthritis Relief with Flexmore

Although Neutrogena is best known for its skin care products, the brand is looking to prioritize the care of another body part. Its new Healthy Scalp collection is designed to bring the science of skin care to the scalp and hair care categories. Neutrogena’s Healthy Scalp line was created through an in-house collaboration at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and Vogue International — makers of OGX and Maui Moisture. The non-medicated, pH-balanced line emphasizes a healthy and gentle daily approach to overall scalp and hair health, the company said. “Neutrogena first entered the hair care market 40 years ago with our Anti-Residue Shampoo, a clarifying shampoo, which continues to be beloved by people all around the world,” said Kerry Sullivan, Neutrogena general manager at J&J. “I’m proud our new Neutrogena Healthy Scalp Collection will continue to expand our hair care offerings to consumers as we understand a healthy scalp is just as important as healthy skin.” A key ingredient found in the collection is Natrasurf, a mild surfactant that was developed specifically by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and allows for the scalp to be cleansed daily without damage to the strands that are often associated with frequent washing, the company said. “The team at Vogue, in partnership with Neutrogena, has been working on this line for two years to bring coveted skin care ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, micellar water and tea tree oil to scalp and hair care — ultimately delivering healthy scalp and hair care gentle enough for everyday use,” said Hanan Wajih, senior marketing director for North America at Vogue International. The collection includes the following shampoo and conditioner pairings: • Hydro Boost with Hyaluronic Acid, formulated for dry scalp and hair that works to increase the scalp’s hydration levels and moisturize hair; • Clarify and Shine with Pink Grapefruit, developed to clarify and exfoliate oily scalp and hair; • Gentle and Soft with Micellar Water, a sensitive-scalp formula meant to gently cleanse the scalp and strands without stripping moisture; and • Soothe and Calm with Tea Tree Oil, designed for dry scalp discomfort, is meant to ease that discomfort and hydrate the scalp for healthy hair. Neutrogena’s Healthy Scalp collection will roll out to Walmart stores nationwide and the retailer’s website through December. Full North America retail distribution will begin in January 2021.

Looking to use homeopathic ingredients to help manage arthritis pain, Hyland’s has introduced Flexmore in a daytime and nighttime formulation. Flexmore and Flexmore PM are designed to use natural active ingredients to tackle arthritis pain — which affects more than 54 million U.S. adults — while also allowing the product to be taken with other medications, as there are no known drug interactions or side effects. “We found it particularly startling in our own survey of adults suffering from arthritis or joint pain, that almost all respondents declared that pain impacts their everyday life, with over 75% being disrupted in their sleep, limiting their exercising or not doing activities they love,” said Les Hamilton, president of Hyland’s. “Yet, two out of three arthritis sufferers delay taking their pain medication because of concerns about longterm risks and/or experience with side effects from common pain relievers.” Hyland’s said the products were developed and designed by pharmacists for relief of minor muscle and joint pain caused by arthritis and rheumatic pain, joint swelling, stiffness, and cramping. They also can ease joint, neck and back pain, while being free of ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen and aspirin. Flexmore PM is formulated to help with occasional sleeplessness. As part of the launch, Hyland’s has partnered with the Arthritis Foundation as a participating member of the “Let’s Get a Grip on Arthritis” campaign, meant to help drive awareness toward researching new ways to improve quality of life for those with arthritis. Sold in bottles of 50 quick-dissolving tablets that feature an easy-open cap, Flexmore and Flexmore PM have launched at select CVS Pharmacy locations, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart stores nationwide, as well as online at Hylands.com and Amazon.com.



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A Trusted Name in Generics At Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC, our heritage is generic pharmaceuticals. We and our parent company, Sawai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, have been formulating and manufacturing quality generics for decades. In keeping with our unwavering commitment to high-quality products and sustainable growth, we’ve recently rolled out a plan to aggressively grow the number of generic development programs in our pipeline. Over the next few years, through both internal research and external partnerships, we’ll substantially expand our generic product portfolio. This means our customers can expect a greater number of consistently supplied, quality products supported by our highest level of customer service. As we begin our second century in business, we remain proud of our strong reputation as a trusted partner in the generic marketplace, and we look forward to delivering even more affordable options to patients and healthcare professionals.

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American Greetings Brings Dolly Parton Cards to Walmart American Greetings is adding a dose of Dolly Parton to its selection for special occasions. The Cleveland-based company partnered with the iconic country singer on an exclusive multiyear license for greeting cards. “Cards are still a great way to connect because they’re more personal,” Parton said. “These days, everything is all social media, but don’t you just love going to the mailbox, getting a card that has your name on it, opening it up, and it says something special? It touches your heart, and hopefully my cards will always touch your heart.” Available exclusively online and at Walmart locations, the Dolly Parton greeting card collection includes 20 cards specifically designed to capture the singer’s personality. The line features American Greetings’ “cards with heart, humor and hope” tagline. “With the huge healthcare, economic and other stresses of 2020, the timing is right for


Dolly’s thoughtfulness, love and kindness,” said Jess Matisz, executive director of shopper marketing at American Greetings. “That’s why we’re so excited to announce the launch of our new collection of Dolly Parton greeting cards.” Parton’s and American Greetings’ multiyear partnership will include digital and physical products that integrate her music in unique ways. “As anticipated, since launching in May, the Dolly Parton SmashUp has been the most sent e-card on both sites where it’s offered,” said Rob Matousek, executive director/general manager of direct-to-consumer business at American Greetings. “We expect a similar response to the fantastic Dolly Parton greeting cards now available at Walmart.”


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BIC Releases Children’s Coloring Line BIC is adding some color to its office supply offerings. New to the United States from the Shelton, Conn.-based brand is the BIC Kids coloring line, which consists of break-resistant crayons and ultra-washable markers with a resistant tip, as well as break-resistant and splinter-free colored crayons. Already found throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and Oceania, the BIC Kids coloring line’s stateside debut will be accompanied by digital ads featuring actress Tia Mowry. • Crayons, which are break-resistant, have a wrap-free design “Now more than ever, parents and teachers are looking for long-lastthat allows for uninterrupted coloring time, and leave no ing, quality products that address a real consumer need at a great mess behind; value, so we’re thrilled to bring our BIC Kids coloring line to the U.S. • Markers, which come in vibrant colors and have strong market,” said Mary Fox, general manager of BIC North America. “Our tips and, if caps are accidentally left off, won’t dry out too team did extensive research on this line to make sure we could deliver quickly; and the absolute best experience for our consumers, especially the youngest • Colored pencils, which feature resistant barrels that do not ones. As a mother of two myself, I’ve spent years wishing for break-resplinter if broken, come in vibrant colors, are easy to sharpen sistant crayons, markers that don’t dry out and pencils that won’t and are break-resistant. splinter. At BIC, we have now made that a reality for all families.” BIC Kids already has debuted on Walmart.com and at select The full lineup includes: Walmart stores nationwide.



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Westlab won the Drug Store News/ECRM Buyers’ Choice Award for its Mindful Salts bath products at ECRM’s Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Natural Beauty Virtual Session in late June. Bella & Bear was a finalist for its Tropical Travel Pack. The products were selected from dozens of entries submitted by participating suppliers. Buyers were able to evaluate each entry and cast their votes based on product packaging and innovation via the Drug Store News-branded Buyers’ Choice Awards section of the ECRM Connect platform. “One trend we’ve seen during the pandemic is consumers’ increased use of self-care products to help them relax at home and achieve some sense of normalcy and well-being,” said Craig Chmielowicz, senior vice president of HBC at ECRM. “The two Buyers’ Choice Award winners’ products certainly address this need with some beautifully packaged and innovative self-care regimens.” Westlab develops pure mineral bathing salts, aiming to make great quality, natural wellness products available at a consumer-friendly price point. Its award-winning Alchemy range, which blends its signature mineral salts with essential oils and plant extracts, is 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free. The company’s Mindful Salts were developed to encourage consumers to take time out from modern life and step into a moment of peace and tranquility, with a fragrant bath blending epsom and Himalayan salts infused with frankincense and bergamot essential oils, plus CBD to help promote deep relaxation. “The ECRM sessions were a success for Westlab again,” said Nigel Hargreaves, sales director at Westlab. “The platform worked seamlessly and allowed some great conversations with our new retail partners, both old and new.” Bella & Bear, a subsidiary of Lusso Brands, won for its Tropical Travel Pack, which holds four resealable sachets containing its Hawaiian Sea Salt Shampoo, Hawaiian Conditioner, Ocean Spray Foaming Salt Scrub and The Tropics Face Mask at a $7.99 retail price. It was designed to stand on its own on the shelf or to be hung on a peg. Each sachet holds more than one application, and the package itself is ideal for gifting and a great way for consumers to try out several of the company’s products before committing to a larger size.


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Poised for Success Despite competition and federal regulation setbacks, Charlotte’s Web is ready to lead the CBD marketplace BY SETH MENDELSON


alk to officials at Charlotte’s Web, and it is pretty easy to get the feeling that it is a company that is ready to break loose on the domestic mass retail marketplace. With sales nearing $100 million annually and a position at the top of the heap in the emerging, yet still undefined, CBD/ hemp category, Charlotte’s Web executives said that the sky is the limit for the company. They are especially confident since they have barely touched the mass retail industry, with about two-thirds of the Boulder, Colo.-based company’s sales coming through online activity. Yet, becoming a player in the CBD world is not that easy these days. Competition for retail space is stiff, quality issues are growing and many merchants are still a bit gun shy when it comes to stocking the category.



Enter Deanie Elsner, the company CEO since spring 2019 and a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods industry. Elsner, who was most recently the president of Kellogg’s snack business unit, intends to take Charlotte’s Web to new heights in the near future by positioning it as just another CPG brand looking to satisfy growing consumer demands in a super-hot category. Her goals for the company are significant. She intends to build sales at the publicly-traded (Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and the OTCQX in the United States) company to at least $1 billion annually over the next few years, apparently by combining acquisitions with product introductions and developing new retail partnerships. And, she intends to show retailers and consumers that products made by Charlotte’s Web are only the highest quality.

“This is a category that is ready to explode at retail,” said Elsner, who spent a great deal of her career moving up the corporate ladder at Kraft Foods. “So now is the time to be very strategic and go to market realizing that different consumers like the millennials and the baby boomers have different needs, and we have to be in the position to satisfy all these groups. That is the fun part of this business. Like all CPG companies, we need to meet the needs of all of our [retail] clients and our consumers.” Let’s be clear, Elsner has a big hill to climb. CBD has been the talk of the mass retail industry for much of the last three years. Backed by strong consumer demand, explosive media coverage and a ton of money from private equity and other resources, the category was poised to have a breakout year in 2019. But, the Food and Drug Administration spoiled the fun by stating late last year that it is illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. The agency also stated that CBD is not “generally recognized as safe” for use in human or animal food. Mass retailers hit the pause button with the entire category, with many worried that moving forward too quickly without government approval would put them at risk. Plus, as with many new and trendy categories, everyone wants a piece of the action. By some estimates, there are more than 4,000 companies producing and distributing CBD-based products in the United States, and that is serving to confuse both retailers and consumers. Elsner, and many other industry officials, are convinced that Charlotte’s Web will come out of this on top. The talk on the street is that this 7-year-old company, founded by the seven Stanley brothers, is arguably the best-positioned CBD producer and distributor in the industry, utilizing a great history and story, strong financial backing, and consumer brand awareness. The company now produces about 200 SKUs, including oils, gummies, topicals and capsules for human and pet care use. Earlier this year, it announced the acquisition of Abacus Health Products, another leading CBD company that had just acquired Harmony Hemp. When the deal was completed in June, Charlotte’s Web became North America’s largest vertically integrated hemp-derived CBD company.

“Our immediate intentions are to clean up our product assortment to make our brands stronger,” Elsner said. “Then we will springboard into new products. We have some terrific new products that we plan to introduce later this year and in 2021. We think they will help position us as the market leader.” Going forward, Elsner said the intention is for products to be sold under the Charlotte’s Web brand, as well as the Harmony Hemp brand and Abacus’ CBD Medic and CBD Clinic lines. Combined, she said, the companies distribute to more than 21,000 unique retail locations with limited shelf overlap due to adjacent but complementary positions across the ingestible and topical CBD product categories. Recently, Charlotte’s Web added 1,100 new drug stores and more than 700 pet stores, and Abacus added more than 5,000 retail doors with the signing of a new retail partner. “The addition of Abacus Health cemented a market leading position in both topical and ingestible products in the CBD category, representing approximately 33% market share of the U.S. CBD food/drug/mass retail channel,” Elsner said. “We are now one dynamic team and mission-driven company.” So now what? Elsner is quite aware that her team has some work to do. First, Charlotte’s Web officials, and many other executives in the CBD community, need to convince officials at the FDA that CBD belongs on retail shelves. Then, she has to win over skeptical retailers and confused consumers to her brands. To that end, the company started CW Labs, an internal division for research and development, substantially expanding on the company’s efforts around the science of hemp-derived phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoid compounds. Under the leadership of recently hired Tim Orr, senior vice president of innovation, CW Labs is working with the University of Buffalo — part of the State University of New York system — to provide a boost to the company’s product portfolio with science-based innovation, including studies on safety and effectiveness, while advancing clinical trials. CW Labs is currently engaged in double-blinded, placebo-controlled human clinical trials, addressing hemp-based solutions for several need states. “The launch of CW Labs formalizes our reach into the science, efficacy and safety of hemp plant compounds,” Elsner said. “CW Labs demonstrates our commitment to innovation and our cuttingedge position with consumer wellness products derived from our proprietary hemp.” With a market share lead in the category, Elsner said she understands that Charlotte’s Web has to take a leadership role as CBD emerges. “We are the market share leaders,” she said. “We are at the forefront of educating retailers and consumers about the benefits of these products, telling all of them what they should be looking for from these types of products.” Elsner is clear about her team’s goals. “We put our money where our mouths are,” she said. “We are focused on bringing consumers and retailers, as well as the FDA, the information and data they need to validate this category. We want retailers to see us as a CPG company that they can trust.” dsn




Keeping the Supply Chain Strong How KNAPP’s systems can help pharmacies


rian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions at KNAPP, tells Drug Store News that his company can help retailers through its automated fulfillment systems. Drug Store News: Tell us about KNAPP. Brian Sullivan: KNAPP is an Austrian-based company that is a global leader in automated fulfillment systems. We have been serving the healthcare industry since the 1960s. Our reach extends across the breadth of the healthcare supply chain from the manufacturers and wholesalers to the centralized and retail operations of our pharmacy customers. We serve our U.S. and Canadian customers from our North American headquarters near Atlanta. DSN: How can retailers better manage their supply chain? BS: We are involved in a number of initiatives that our retail customers are either operating now or have in the development stages: • Centralized pharmacy operations: Whether for central filling customer orders for stores, mail, long-term care or specialty, this trend continues to grow. KNAPP has been in this space for over 15 years and provides one of the most automated solutions available for our retail customers. When it makes sense, these systems offset the margin erosion of DIR and GER fees by reducing the in-store costs and staffing requirements for prescription fulfillment, consolidating inventory and improving their accuracy through automated prescription fulfillment; • DSCSCA: KNAPP has been working with our manufacturer and wholesaler customers since 2013 to meet the requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act automatically with our vision technologies. Retailers are just starting to engage in this process to meet their obligations by the 2023 deadline. KNAPP is


Brian Sullivan, senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions, KNAPP

using our learnings to help them automate these processes; and Micro-fulfillment centers: We have seen a significant move towards microfulfillment centers on both the grocery and the pharmacy sides of our customers’ businesses. This was initially being adapted to optimize costs structures and better serve customers in the digital market. This has accelerated since COVID to provide greater opportunities for digital ordering of prescriptions and OTC meds with reduced touches for cost and safety. KNAPP’s Apostore retail pharmacy systems use digital ordering married to 24/7 automated dispensing systems to help meet these needs.

DSN: What are the challenges to retailers? How can you help? BS: They are many. Some, I have alluded to already, are addressed in the regulatory fees and the upcoming compliance requirements that the pharmacies face. One specific challenge that

we see is the ongoing technician shortage. This existing challenge ballooned with the surge of prescription orders at the beginning of COVID. The shortage and compensation pressures that our retail customers are seeing has accelerated their need to automate their processes. KNAPP is assisting their efforts in multiple ways. Our centralized pharmacy systems significantly reduce the technician staffing requirements and associated costs for the retail pharmacies. Maintenance medications are already supplied to the retail store as complete orders, so the fewer technicians are required and are able to spend more time interfacing with patients. Additionally, KNAPP’s Apostore automated storage and retrieval systems minimize the time and steps required of the technicians to fill prescription and OTC orders. Additionally, because all medication is dispensed first to expire, first out, the cost of expired medications is reduced. DSN: What have the effects of COVID-19 been and how are you reacting? BS: We have been lucky. Because KNAPP is part of the healthcare supply chain, we were able to keep moving and accelerate most of the projects that we have been working on. Our customers have been extraordinarily challenged by the spikes in orders and are determined not to get caught in this situation again going forward. Automation projects have increased their size and scope to assure greater redundancy and coverage for disaster recovery. Centralized pharmacies that might have targeted 60,000 prescriptions per day have increased to 80,000 or 90,000 prescriptions daily. Our smaller micro-pharmacy projects have increased from 20 to 25 locations. The move towards touchless, digital ordering, as well as off-hours shopping has many of our customers accelerating implementation of the hub and spoke microfulfillment centers with automated dispensing in our Apostore systems. dsn


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Making Health Easy Mybite looks to get consumers over the vitamin barrier


ooking for anything that might help them fight off the effects of COVID19, many consumers are turning to the vitamins, minerals and supplements category. Kate Jones, president of Mybite Vitamins, said in a conversation with Drug Store News that retailers have an excellent shot of building sales in this category. However, it is going to take some work on the part of retailers and suppliers to create a VMS aisle that satisfies the most consumer demands and needs. Drug Store News: Vitamins have been a bright spot at retail during the pandemic. Tell us what is going on out there now. Kate Jones: Since the pandemic started in the late winter, consumers have become more and more comfortable with the idea of proactively taking control of their own health needs. The interest in self-care among consumers is contributing to the increased sales in multiple product categories, which includes everything from probiotics to stress. DSN: What is driving sales? KJ: Vitamin sales are increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in new vitamin takers has also played a factor in the increased vitamin sales. The pandemic has caused consumers to purchase not only immunity-boosting supplements, but also vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements. Supplements that are marketed as “immune boosting” are guiding the spike in sales. DSN: What do retailers need to do to build sales in the category now? KJ: Retailers need to focus on pulling all levers of marketing opportunities. They can build sales in the category by promoting products on endcaps to catch consumers’ attention. This is a great way to provide consumers with discovery of new products on shelf and an even easier way


can not only look forward to their daily vitamin, but can also enjoy a bite of healthy bliss. A huge advantage we have is being able to sample our delicious chocolatey vitamins to consumers, and participating in retailers’ cold and flu season endcaps to bring some ease to consumers during the winter months. Our products are formulated and marketed to break down the barrier for current consumers and those just entering the vitamin category. The vitamin aisle can feel overwhelming, we make it easy and enjoyable. Mybite offers clear benefit messaging, along with a delicious system. Kate Jones, president, Mybite Vitamins

of creating an opportunity for a consumer to make an impulse buy. We believe that signage is another great way to call out new products or a new brand on the retailer shelves. This helps brand awareness and more opportunity for the consumer to engage with learning more about the brand or product. Another great marketing tactic is sampling product, if possible, to incentivize new consumers to make a purchase and become loyal to the brand. DSN: What is Mybite Vitamins doing to help out retailers when it comes to merchandising and marketing? KJ: We are proud to say we are on shelf at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid nationwide, putting us in 20,000 doors. Mybite’s focus is to redefine the vitamin category in all channels — food, drug, mass, club and natural — and to encourage health as something fun for consumers of all ages. This innovative idea means consumers

“A huge advantage we have is being able to sample our delicious chocolatey vitamins to consumers, and participating in retailers’ cold and flu season endcaps to bring some ease to consumers during the winter months.” DSN: What does the future look like for the VMS category? KJ: We believe that consumer demand will continue to increase, and we do not see this changing anytime soon. With the pandemic still on the front lines, the vitamin category creates a peace of mind to consumers and helps them proactively take their health into their own hands. Our patented delivery system has paved a delicious new way to take your chocolatey vitamins guilt-free. dsn


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Homeopath to Success How retailers can capitalize on the growing interest in homeopathic remedies


given a choice, consumers will purchase a “better for you” medicine versus a conventional OTC. Also, strategically, retailers should lean in on education of homeopathic and natural products for their pharmacists, pharmacy techs and team members. Historically, the pharmacy and the “front of the store” don’t interact much. This is a big opportunity for retailers to build not only the market basket, but also trust with their consumers. Boiron’s pharmacy education and medical teams educate thousands of pharmacists, techs and doctors every year virtually and can be done according to their schedule.

ay Petrick, vice president of sales at Boiron USA, said that homeopathic products are booming during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with Drug Store News, he said that retailers can continue to build sales and profits in the self-care category by properly merchandising and promoting the section. Drug Store News: The homeopathic remedies category has fared well during the pandemic. Why do you think that is? Ray Petrick: The homeopathic category has seen significant increases during the COVID event in the first quarter. Driving this increase has been pantry loading and increased consumer awareness. Consumers have learned homeopathic products address such issues as upper respiratory, sore throat, pain, sleep and digestive naturally, safe and effectively. As consumers found themselves unable to move about the world as normal, keeping their medicine cabinets stocked with homeopathic medicines became even more important. Additionally, as certain states have recently had increased incidence levels — Texas, Arizona, Florida — we have also seen a significant increase in sales in those states. DSN: Is it a trend that will continue after the COVID-19 pandemic? RP: With self-care as a first defense versus seeing a doctor. Consumers have learned they need to be prepared and will continue to utilize homeopathic medicines as part of their self-care and care for the entire family. Homeopathic medicines address issues that affect every age and can be used along with other OTCs and prescriptions. One of the categories that has grown during the pandemic is sleep and stress. Boiron’s new SleepCalm, launching this month, is a melatonin-free alternative to help consumers fall asleep and stay asleep without next-day grogginess and without risk of drug interactions.


Ray Petrick, vice president of sales, Boiron USA

DSN: What do retailers need to do to build sales in the category now? RP: All retailers, pharmacies, food, mass retailers and natural products stores have become essential for helping consumers get through this crisis by providing life’s everyday essentials, such as food, OTC medicines and health-and-wellness products. From a category perspective, homeopathic products should not be segregated out by themselves as retailers will miss the opportunity to build a bigger market basket. The homeopathic market basket has twice the dollar value as a conventional OTC market basket. Retailers should merchandise homeopathic medicines within the conventional OTC categories — pain, cough and cold, etc. Research shows when

DSN: What is Boiron doing to help out in terms of merchandising and marketing? RP: Boiron focuses on educating both retailers and consumers about the benefits of homeopathic medicines in order to create awareness and trial. Our Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Finder is a free app that consumers can use to find the right medicine for whatever issue they may have. We also use digital tactics to reach specific target audiences. These tactics include product search, Facebook and YouTube. Boiron also provides in-store materials for retailers to help promote the benefits of homeopathy. DSN: What does the future look like for the category? RP: The future of the homeopathic category is very exciting. Consumers recognize the need for safety and efficacy in self-care. Homeopathic medicines are both safe and effective. As Boiron enters into many different categories, consumers will have the option of homeopathic medicines in categories such as digestive health, sleep/stress and feminine hygiene. Historically, there have not been homeopathic options in many of these categories. dsn


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King of Convenience Bavis Drive-Thru’s offerings help make pharmacy trips seamless


incinnati-based Bavis DriveThru has a long history of helping retail pharmacies provide their customers with convenience and top-notch service. Drug Store News spoke to Bavis Drive-Thru president William Sieber to discuss how the company can help retail pharmacies. Drug Store News: Tell us about Bavis and what your company does. William Sieber: Bavis Drive-Thru was founded in 1957 by Edward Bavis. He didn’t make drive-thru equipment. He made cabinets. We got into the drivethru business in the 1960s when branch banking started, and he did the interiors of banks. As an add on, he started selling drive-thru equipment like pneumatic tubes. In the 1970s, he was fed up with the problems with pneumatic tubes and he came out with his first product, the Autoveyor, which conveyed a box-shaped carrier instead of the old and limited round carrier. The Autoveyor became the standard in the Midwest for drive-thru banking. From there, we branched out with new technologies, and the Autoveyor eventually became the TransTrax. From that technology, we added building windows and drawers. We took our market in the late 1980s and early 1990s from just doing banking equipment to doing banking, fast food and pharmacy. DSN: What type of products does Bavis focus on to be successful? WS: We have to look at the market and find out what customers expect when they get to the drive-thru to receive the product. In the 1960s, a round tube powered by air was what they expected. As we went into other markets, such as food and pharmaceuticals, that little round tube was not sufficient to transport the items. We had to go to other technologies to allow for higher capacity, volume and weight.


convenience to our customers so they don’t have to come into the store and don’t have to expose themselves to the virus? What can you do for me? To answer that question, in several pharmacies, we’re putting in the Vittleveyor, a product that was created for the fast-food industry. This solution can handle many large products at once at the drive-thru.

William Sieber, president, Bavis Drive-Thru

We had to come up with a way to provide a larger carrier so that we could accommodate, for instance, a 100-pack of syringes or multiple prescription bottles in one trip. We were able to create a much larger carrier called the Captive Carrier TransTrax. With this, we could transport various larger items that were needed through the pharmacy. The key items we have to be able to transport are things like syringes, diabetic supplies and other essential items that are much too large to fit in a tube system. DSN: Tell us about some of Bavis’ other product offerings. WS: Now, pharmacies are expressing that they’d like to be able to provide OTC items and items like diapers, toilet paper, soda and other larger products. How can we provide

DSN: What trends are you seeing that Bavis is addressing? WS: Before COVID-19, drive-thru was starting to slow down. Many of the pharmacies and even fast food were saying, “I don’t know that we need multiple lanes.” As soon as the COVID situation occurred, people were concerned and wanted touchless delivery; many of our customers decided it was time to renovate their entire systems. Our production schedule is full and growing. There are so many people who now also want new drive-thrus in existing facilities as it is evident that our products provide a real, unique and proven solution. Our drive-thru equipment enables businesses to continue to conduct and, in fact, expand business throughput. And, since we are a vertically-integrated manufacturer, we can continue supplying products and are able to augment our supply chain with in-house-manufactured parts as required to meet the growing need. DSN: What is the future of the drive-thru at the pharmacy? WS: I’m meeting with several retailers now on the future of drive-thru. They are having conversations now saying, “What can we do to improve drive-thru?” In the past, they bought what was out there. Now, retailers are proactively looking at their environment, at what they can do, and how they can do it better. You will see new drive-thru products come out as a result. dsn


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In the Cards Value and assortment in greeting card category benefit independent and chain pharmacies


reeting cards remain a big part of a mass retailer’s merchandising plan. According to Steven Gimbelman, CEO and president of Designer Greetings, independent and smaller retailers can benefit from his company’s unique programs. Gimbelman spoke with Drug Store News about the greeting card category. Drug Store News: How can the Designer Greetings’ program benefit independent drug stores and small-chain retailers when there are now fewer places to buy cards as card shops in many areas go out of business? Steven Gimbelman: Designer Greetings offers a variety of programs that are designed to help your pharmacy increase sales. The Card$mart program, selling cards at 50% off every day, is a traffic driver for independent and small-chain retailers. Offering the most extensive title selection in the industry with more than 23,000 card titles, Card$mart also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories. In addition, part of Designer Greetings’ array of product is their premier gift wrap line, known and recognized nationally as the branded “Glitterwrap” program. This program includes the essential gift wrap items, such as gift wrap, roll wrap, gift bags, bows and ribbons, all in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit every customer’s need. Drug Store News: How can the independent drug store or small chain drug store compete with greeting cards against large chains? SG: A top advantage for independent drug stores is that Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program out values the national drug chains. The two biggest national drug chains sell their cards at full price. As you know, card prices have risen dramatically


and the discerning shopper is discouraged. With Card$mart, the shopper can purchase cards at 50% off the published retail price, without sacrificing quality. Such appealing pricing drives traffic to the store, creating new customers. This is one of the only products an independent drug store retailer can buy that out values national retail drug chain stores. In addition, data has shown that the Card$mart customer will purchase more units of cards, ultimately improving the retailer’s profit, an advantage every retailer is seeking. DSN: Why should an existing store think about giving up prime space in their location and dedicate it to cards? SG: Card$mart Store-In-A-Store is a huge traffic driver. Moreover, while the customer will receive quality product at a value price, the likelihood that they may purchase more units ultimately drives up retail sales, bringing new customers to the store. However, if your store does not meet the minimum space requirements, our dedicated and experienced sales team will help

find the program that best suits your store to maximize greeting card sales. DSN: What is the state of the greeting card category right now in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, and how has Designer Greetings continued to meet customer needs? SG: During this unprecedented time, greeting cards remain part of the product sold in the essential business channels, drug and food, thus we are seeing strong sales coming from these channels, especially for our new card line we created specifically to address COVID-19, Care and Concern. The Care and Concern line offers the perfect sentiment for this difficult time with encouraging messages, such as “Yes you can!” and “It’s a good day for a good day.” The ability to send a handwritten card to a friend or family member at this time when physical touch is lacking is like sending someone a big “socially distant hug,” and Designer Greetings hopes our cards can put the biggest smile on someone’s face. dsn


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Value for Everyone Pharma Logistics aims to provide value to retailers and their shoppers


effrey Swanson, head of sales/customer success at Pharma Logistics, said that the secret to success is providing value to consumers when it is needed most. In an interview with Drug Store News, Swanson said his company can help retailers be more efficient and get money in their customers’ pockets faster for expired products and pharmaceutical returns. Drug Store News: What do retailers in the healthcare space need to do to build sales in the category now? Jeffrey Swanson: While the healthcare landscape has certainly changed, potentially with lasting effects, the secret to sales is still the same: providing value where it is needed the most. Retailers need to understand their customers and how they can help solve their problems. That may include learning how to adapt where necessary. You cannot continue trying to sell a product or service that nobody is asking for anymore and expect results. It does not matter how successful it was in the past. We all need to ensure we are listening to our customers and delivering the services that drive value where there is a demand for it. Our customers are reporting that patient and employee safety, cost reductions and efficiency gains are currently driving sales. The truth is that sales are being impacted by the pandemic across all sectors. However, as we have seen, that impact is not uniform across the industry. Some healthcare services are affected more than others, with certain areas like telehealth and virtual communications experiencing growth. DSN: What is Pharma Logistics doing to help its customers? JS: Pharma Logistics has developed programs that are specifically designed to positively impact our customers’ cash flow.


Jeffrey Swanson, head of sales/customer success, Pharma Logistics

“The future is going to be impacted by a variety of factors, both from regulation and increasing patient demand. A continued focus for Pharma Logistics will be to get cash back in our customers’ hands as quickly and fully as possible so they can return those investments to the health system and patients.”

Working to drive efficiencies through the expired product process, we are examining the entire process from ordering to returns. That way, we can provide our customers with an action list of items that can help them reduce waste and receive credits for any expired products. Through our Rapid Credit Program, we have developed a process that provides credit to our customers for pharmaceutical returns in as little as 14 days, allowing them to put those funds back into their healthcare system and focus on patient care instead of reconciling reports. By returning your pharmaceuticals sooner rather than later, you also eliminate the risk of the products decreasing in value. The program works with both our onsite and box and ship pharmaceutical return services, making the process minimally invasive to your workflows. DSN: What does the future look like for the industry overall? JS: The future of the healthcare industry is going to be impacted by a variety of factors, both from regulation such as DSCSA and increasing patient demand. A continued focus for Pharma Logistics will be to get cash back in our customers’ hands as quickly and fully as possible, so they can return those investments to the health system and patients. Working to connect backend process efficiencies with front-end ordering and inventory management will also be a major focus for years to come. Ultimately, we want to future-proof the success of our clients. The truth is that even when COVID-19 passes, the healthcare industry will not return to business as usual. While this specific pandemic was unexpected, it highlighted critical flaws in the way that many businesses operate. Moving forward, success will be determined by focusing on services and revenue streams that can still thrive no matter what happens. dsn


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Pharma Logistics. The Reverse Distribution Experts.

What Can Pharma Logistics Do For You? Pharma Logistics gets you credits for expired pharmaceuticals and keeps you compliant with all state and federal regulations, allowing you to focus on what matters most‌your patients. For thousands of pharmacies across the country, Pharma Logistics delivers a range of services, including:

Rapid Credit

Receive credit within 14 days.

Onsite Service

Trained and licensed representatives come onsite to check paperwork, ensure proper packaging, and prepare shipments for carrier pickup.



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Box & Ship Service

Manually pack and ship your own returns with prepaid labels and boxes.

Drug Take Back

A medication disposal program that keeps your community safe and complies with the requirements of the DEA Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act.


Pharma Logistics brings efficiency and 24/7 visibility to the returns process so you can focus on patient care and the community. Call 888-729-7427 or visit www.pharmalogistics.com.

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Four Trends Worth Considering Lessons retailers can glean from the pandemic’s impact on consumer desires By Tess MacGibbon

D Tess MacGibbon, director of thought leadership, The Lacek Group


rug stores have long been savvy about customer loyalty, and pharmacy reward programs bear that out. Traditionally, customers have earned points for filling prescriptions, and then can redeem those points for discounts. But drug stores can no longer rely on this basic system to draw in loyal customers. Healthcare consumers are evolving and demanding much more to earn a share of their wallets and loyalty. In May, Rexall Drug Stores, for example, introduced “a new kind of rewards program,” which combines health, wellness and rewards. Be Well members still earn points on purchases, but now, using the Be Well app, they also receive personalized offers and incentives; can connect with their preferred pharmacy; can access their medication histories; and can add, manage and refill their medications. They can even track health metrics by linking their wearable activity trackers to the app. It’s likely too soon to gauge consumer response to the new program, but it seems to be on the right track — particularly in terms of offering consumers greater personalization and control. How else can drug stores respond to what’s been called the retailification of health care? Here are four trends we’re watching: 1. Healthcare viewpoints may be changing. The coronavirus has laid bare numerous challenges within the U.S. health system — one that spends $3.65 trillion on health care yet ranks 27th in the world. While views haven’t changed yet according to a recent USA Today survey, they may still alter as underprepared health systems spark anxiety among citizens. Perhaps, more people will demand that health care not be tied to employment. Or maybe more people will support subsidizing health insurance for lower income individuals and families. Consider: Is there an opportunity via a partnership to support your customers in new ways in light of their healthcare views? Or perhaps, wellness initiatives could be offered to a segment of your best customers, e.g., awarding more points

for participating in healthy activities and/or getting vaccines? 2.Experts are elevated. People are increasingly turning to experts for advice over peers or online reviews. For example, Business Insider conducted a survey in late April that found Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was among the most trusted U.S. leaders during the coronavirus pandemic. This trend toward trust in experts could become more widespread. Can your drug store brand leverage a voice of authority in wellness or health care in its marketing and customer engagement? 3. Consumers are accelerating their adoption of technology. Robotics is making it safer to take care of patients and give tests without human-to-human contact, anonymized cell phone data is used to monitor social distancing efforts, and drones are being tested to deliver prescriptions. These use cases have retail applications and consumers may expect implementation to mitigate shopping risks. What technologies might your drug store adopt to make consumers feel safer — perhaps contactless checkouts, automatic doors, and touchless soap and paper towels in restrooms? What other technologies might improve your customer experience? 4. Teleservices and distance learning are expanding. Roughly 20 years ago, rural areas pioneered telepharmacy services; increasingly, telepharmacies now reach underserved urban areas as well. Today, with the coronavirus pandemic and the discomfort many individuals feel about shopping in store, drug stores might consider adding telepharmacy services. Doing so could provide a new way to acquire and engage with customers. Additionally, a drug store might consider partnering with a local health system or a fitness company to offer online learning events on healthcare concerns (e.g, heart health or shingles) or wellness subjects (e.g., meditation or cooking). Retail is constantly changing. This year, that’s become all the more obvious. But drug stores can weather these developments if they remain open to healthcare consumers’ evolving needs. dsn


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Optimizing Your Pharmacy Inventory Technology can help smartly manage a pharmacy’s medication stock By Nathan Chapman

H Nathan Chapman, vice president and general manager, Supplylogix

aving the right medications in the right place and at the right time is at the center of every pharmacy practice. But with today’s skyrocketing drug costs, reduced reimbursements and heightened competition, we must start looking at that inventory differently. Rather than resigning to the fact that it’s simply the cost of doing business, you need to start considering it a manageable part of your working capital. That inventory is an investment, the bottles on the shelves represent real money and are likely the single largest expenditure your pharmacy has, often even greater than labor and facility costs. Slow-moving inventory, or medications that can sit on the shelves until they expire, can end up costing significantly more than their retail value. Without an effective strategy, many pharmacies continue to automatically reorder inventory at the same levels without re-evaluating their movement.

Implementing inventory management software can help you gain visibility into — and provide thoughtful management of — inventory purchasing habits across each and every pharmacy location. In fact, most pharmacies use the applications in their pharmacy management systems to keep medications in stock at their current levels. When a prescription is filled, it’s tracked by the system and replaced on a one-for-one basis with the pharmacy’s next delivery from its distributor. That happens regardless of whether the replacement medication is needed that week, the following week, next month or next quarter. If demand for a certain product changes, it can take a few ordering cycles to identify the problem and make the necessary adjustments. A better approach is employing tools to analyze prescription fulfillment trends in real time and forecast when the replacement medication is likely to be needed, along with current inventory levels and expiration dates of the current stock. That way you can spend the money when it’s needed rather than having working capital sitting


on a shelf in the form of a medication that may not be prescribed for a few months. Implementing inventory management software like that offered by Supplylogix can help you gain visibility into — and provide thoughtful management of — inventory purchasing habits across each and every pharmacy location. These tools can help pharmacies realize as much as a 35% improvement in inventory turns and minimize losses from unsaleable returns by as much as 25%. Using the software to automatically group medication families into ranked categories based on their prescription volume, as well as the total dollar value, and the percentage of total output, gives you the data you need to answer key inventory questions across your organization: • Are you holding enough inventory in your fastest-moving drugs?; • Are you holding too much inventory in your slowest-moving drugs?; and • Are you still stocking drugs with little or no movement? Effectively managing your inventory ordering process will allow you to id entify potential inventory surpluses. This gives you an opportunity to return stock to the distributor within the prestated policy guidelines to maximize refunds, or identify the minimum amount of a specific medication you need to have on hand at any moment without the risk of running short of expected demand. You may also be able to periodically adjust your spending on certain medications to take advantage of changes in quantity, availability, demand and market price. Being able to see where your inventory dollars are spent in relation to the prescriptions you are filling lets you make data-driven decisions on the ordering process, spending appropriately on fast moving medications and scaling back on those that tend to sit unused. At the same time, you’re likely to increase the productivity of the inventory you do have on hand, better control your carrying costs to meet your financial goals and, most importantly, reduce the working capital needed to maintain optimal inventory levels. dsn


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Where Discovery & Buying Takes Place SEPTEMBER 8 TH-11 TH The Home Health & Diabetes Care Program HELD VIRTUALLY

Learn how you can take advantage of this exclusive virtual opportunity Contact Michael Castillo, SVP of Pharmacy & Medical Markets at 440-528-0441 or mcastillo@ecrm.marketgate.comm.marketgate.com

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nowing how consumers in a certain category are shopping is crucial to merchandising in a way that successfully will drive bigger baskets and higher sales. Recognizing this, GMDC|Retail Tomorrow and Hamacher Resource Group created the Selfcare Roadmap, a tool that can identify opportunities and reveal how forward-looking practices can remake the shopping experience, while inspiring new merchandising and service models that make an impact throughout the store. The tool, which only is available to GMDC|Retail Tomorrow members, demonstrates how to optimize shoppers’ health, beauty, personal care and wellness experiences, as well as how to drive new avenues for profitability by offering more than 140 insights and infographics that can be sorted by category of self-care occasion. This month, the companies have shared insights with Drug Store News about the postoperative shopper. dsn








Accessories 2%


Fragrances <1%

Sun Care 5%

Multicultural Beauty Care 1%

Cosmetics 10%


Skin Care 45%

Shaving and Grooming 10%

Hair Care 15% Deodorants 12%

Key insight: Four of the top 20 sun care SKUs are SPF 30 and contribute 16% of total unit movement. Ten of the top 20 sun care SKUs are SPF 50 or higher and contribute 15% of the total unit movement.


Key insight: In addition to the comfort of recovering in familiar surroundings, home recovery can cost less and come with fewer risks.


January 2018

Treat Clean

January 2017 $500,000,000



Key insight: Patients purchasing first aid products, which includes post-op patients, are spending roughly the same on treatment items as cleaning and protecting products combined.



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New and noteworthy Products that made their mark in July



K-Y Natural Feeling Moisturizing Lubricant with Hyaluronic Acid



Robitussin Children’s Naturals Cough Relief + Immune Health Gummy


Green Goo Face Wash

s the U.S. navigated its fourth month of the ongoing pandemic, CPG manufacturers brought to retail new ways to meet shoppers’ health-and-wellness and beauty needs. In July, Hamacher Resource Group’s new product team evaluated 265 new products, consisting of 93 OTC products, 56 wellness products and 116 beauty products. The team managed to identify five offerings that hold promise for retailers.

Mucinex Children’s Free From Cold & Flu Nighttime

If the average consumer increasingly is conscientious about what products are going in their bodies, then moms have to be doubly choosy — for themselves and their kids. RB’s Mucinex brand is looking to court this demographic with its latest product, which uses elderberry and is free of “unnecessary ingredients.” The product also is free of alcohol, caffeine, sugar and artificial colors and dyes.


Vicks VapoBath Bath Crystals

Procter & Gamble is adding an innovative delivery method to a recognized name. The company is taking its Vicks brand’s wellknown eucalyptus, camphor and menthol vapors and creating a bath relief product with Vicks VapoBath Bath Crystals. The product offers a new way for consumers to conveniently incorporate cold and flu relief into their daily routines.


Another RB brand, K-Y, is bringing hyaluronic acid — one of the hottest ingredients in skin care — to the sexual wellness space. The newest K-Y Natural Feeling product is a water-based lubricant meant to help women feel more lubricated, hydrated and healthy, while also being pH balanced, paraben-free and hormone-free.

Bringing the two trends of immunity and gummy formulations together, GSK Consumer Healthcare is rolling out a new product meant to soothe coughs in children aged 3 years old and older. The supplement is free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, as well as drug- and alcohol-free. The non-GMO gummy is made with elderberry and a touch of honey. Facial care, in particular natural facial care, continues to be a booming segment, and Sierra Sage Herbs’ Green Goo Face Wash is looking to meet consumer demands in that area. The product is all natural and formulated to replenish and nurture the skin. It dissolves dirt and makeup while being soap-free and thus absent of the various drying chemicals found in soap. dsn


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Mendi’s New Full-Spectrum Line Targets Recovery on the Go

Prima Earns Environmental Working Group Verification Wellness- and beauty-focused CBD brand Prima has earned verification from the Environmental Working Group. The Los Angeles-based company said its new EWG Verified status makes it the first hemp CBD brand to meet the evaluator’s standards for chemical safety in consumer products. “As active stewards and vocal champions of the highest quality standards in product safety, purity and sustainability throughout our careers, we are incredibly proud that Prima is the first brand in the hemp CBD industry to have products EWG Verified,” said Laurel Angelica Myers, co-founder and COO of Prima. Among the EWG Verified products are the company’s CBD skin care offerings, including The Afterglow, Enlightenment Serum, R&R Cream, Bath Gem and Night Magic. “In a new and unregulated industry, EWG’s mark is critical in helping vulnerable consumers easily identify products that are nontoxic and healthier,” said Christopher Gavigan, founder and CEO of Prima. “This validation and verification furthers Prima’s industry-defining commitment to clean, science-driven, credible and transparent business practices, setting the bar even higher for the CBD industry at large.” The EWG Verified mark ensures that products are free of the organization’s “chemicals of concern” — a list of ingredients that could pose health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns — and provides full ingredient transparency disclosure. It also ensures that products are made according to good manufacturing practices. “As the clean beauty and skin care market continues to grow, it is vital that we at EWG continue to grow with it,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and co-founder. “The five Prima CBD products mark a first for the EWG Verified program, and an important milestone for EWG, Prima and the skin care industry as a whole.” Since its launch in June 2019, Prima has expanded to manufacture 11 products that have gained distribution at Sephora and other specialty retailers, in addition to being sold on its website. It became a Certified B Corporation in June 2020.


CBD brand Mendi is expanding its offerings, rolling out the new Core Line of products containing full-spectrum CBD. Mendi’s Core Line includes cream and tinctures, as well as gummies. The Core cream contains 500 mg of CBD in a 4-oz. jar and it’s designed to hydrate and moisturize skin, while relieving deep tissue and joint pain for up to three hours. The Core day and night tinctures are meant to offer 1,000 mg of fullspectrum CBD apiece, while aiding wellness recovery, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy digestion and sleep. The Core gummies are vegan and formulated with a high dose of 25 mg of CBD per gummy to help tackle anxiety, the brand said. Mendi’s Core Line joins its THC-free Base Line, which is formulated for pro athletes with only CBD isolate. While still below the legal THC content limit of 0.3%, Mendi CEO and co-founder Rachael Rapinoe said it is designed to help with recovery for athletes who aren’t subject to testing. “We came to market with our Base Line (THC-free), so our network of pro athletes could be in the fold from the very beginning,” Rapinoe told CBD Retail Insights. “The Base Line is safe for athletes who need to be WADA/IOC compliant, however, we’re much more excited to bring full-spectrum recovery tools into the mix.” Rapinoe said that the full-spectrum offering brings more of the plant’s benefits to the products. “Nothing beats full plant power. The combination of over a hundred different cannabinoids, terpenes and other whole plant elements truly make these blends unbeatable,” she said. “Full-spectrum hemp is whole plant extract for an entourage effect that you won’t get with our Base Line (CBD only) products. It’s still legal in the U.S., TSA friendly and has less than .3% THC. For anyone not under a testing policy, we highly recommend incorporating our Core Line into your recovery regimen.” Products in the Core Line range in price from $60 to $100.


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Being Hemp Unveils WomenFocused Nano CBD Products

Therabody Rolls Out TheraOne CBD Line Therabody — formerly known as Theragun — has officially launched its collection of CBD products, TheraOne. The company had announced the line alongside its new name and devices in May, marking its first move in the CBD space with full-spectrum products made from its proprietary strain of hemp. TheraOne’s five products — all of which have earned the USDA Certified Organic Seal — include Activate CBD Lotion, Recover CBD Lotion, Revive CBD Body Balm, Sleep CBD Tincture and Soothe CBD Massage Oil. The products were developed by the company’s founder and chief wellness officer, Jason Wersland, who found that integrating CBD into his Theragun percussive massage therapy helped patients feel better naturally. “As a company, we continue to innovate within the tech wellness space beyond our Theragun Percussive Massage Therapy devices, which led us to the evolution of Therabody,” Wersland said. “Now with the introduction of TheraOne, we have become the premium destination for whole body natural wellness solutions. It is important for our customers to know that under certain circumstances, there are natural and effective alternatives to pain medications. Theragun has always been a natural approach to successfully treating pain and now TheraOne will be an additional natural wellness solution.” The hemp for the TheraOne line was grown on the company’s exclusive farm in Colorado. Once extracted, the full-spectrum hemp is formulated with the company’s patent-pending Biosorb technology, which it said primes oil concentrate to increase effectiveness, improve consistency and increase shelf life. Therabody triple tests its products before having them third-party verified with certificates of analysis. Each product also features a QR code that allows consumers to view the certificate for each product on the Therabody website. The products, which range in price from $55 to $75, currently are sold on the Therabody website and through select retailers.


Being Hemp is aiming to address the health, wellness and beauty needs of women with its latest line of products. The San Diego-based maker of products using high-absorption nano CBD is adding an antiaging skin care system, five condition-specific tinctures and an apple cider vinegar gummy supplement. The company said its focus has been on offering innovation in a category that is growing, but does not necessarily feature tailored products for different groups. “There is a big difference between marketing existing CBD products to women and creating physician-formulated products that meet women’s specific needs,” said Liz Gagnon, director of communications at Being Hemp. “As we looked at the landscape of CBD products, we found that women are looking for CBD products that speak directly to their concerns and that they can trust to work as advertised. We’re confident that Being Hemp products will deliver the pure, powerful results that women expect and deserve.” The Being Hemp Apple Cider Vinegar Nano Hemp Gummies include 35 mg of apple cider vinegar and 25 mg of nano CBD per gummy, delivering the cannabinoid and the vinegar looked to for various antimicrobial and antioxidant effects in a watermelon-flavored vegan gummy. The Being Hemp Anti-Aging Skin Care System includes three products: Beautiful Age-Defying Serum, Beautiful Day Crème and Beautiful Night Crème. The serum includes saw palmetto, collagen, and vitamins A and B; while the day crème features vitamin E and rosehip oil, alongside titanium oxide meant to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The night crème offers vitamin A and rosehip oil. All three are packaged in airless pump jars that allow for onefinger dispensing. The company’s tinctures are formulated around various conditions. Each offers 50 mg of nano CBD per 1 ml, and includes omega-3, -6 and -9; vitamins C and D; zinc and green tea extract theanine. The tinctures include: Restful, a sleep formula with melatonin and lavender; Immune with turmeric and elderberry; Serene with bacopa and limonene; Centered, a mood formula with ashwagandha and evening primrose; and Harmony, a hormone balance formula with St. John’s wort and black cohosh root.


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What are the hottest markets in the country? If you

asked that question before late February, you might get one set of answers. Today, nearly six months into the COVID19 pandemic that has changed not only the state of retail, but the state of just about everything around the world, the answer is a bit different. For example, in February, the booming city of Las Vegas would definitely have made the list of the top 12. Businesses and consumers were running to Sin City, pulled in by an extremely friendly business environment, plenty of jobs and, if you like a lot of heat in the summer, good weather. It finished at No. 20 this year (the full rankings will be available at drugstorenews.com). New York was another city that fell in the rankings due to the pandemic. With a highly educated workforce, nearly 22 million people in the metropolitan area and a lot of disposable income, the Big Apple was soundly in the top 10. After COVID-19 and the fear that many workers may never return to the towers of Manhattan, it barely makes the top 12. The criteria used in developing the report included


population growth, business environment, disposable income and the demographics of the population in the area. The health of retail in each area was also a factor. While the coronavirus pandemic did play a role in determining the hottest of the hot, we also are aware that this devastating virus will not be here forever. And, when it does finally go away — or a vaccine or treatments are developed — we can hope that the country and the world will return to some level of normalcy. When that happens, retailers and suppliers will look to the cities on our list to see where they would like to expand into. Not surprisingly, the list includes cities across the country. Boston, the aforementioned New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia made it from the Northeast. Up-andcoming Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; and Columbus, Ohio also made the list as did the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

Who is No. 1? Booming Austin, Texas.


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AUSTIN Population and jobs booms cement the ascendancy of ‘Silicon Hills’ Austin is famous for its barbecue, street art and live music. It also is a darn good place to live and work. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report named Austin the best place to live in America for the third year in a row, based on the area’s affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Austin remains one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, with a population of nearly 1 million buoyed by recent college graduates and retiring baby boomers. Growth in the city limits is strong; however, reflecting a national trend, it is even stronger in the suburbs and exurbs. Some 2.2 million people live in the five counties that comprise the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area, whose 2.5% population increase from 2018 to 2019 was the highest growth percentage in that period for any U.S. metro area with a population of at least 1 million. By some estimates, Austin’s total population will hit 4 million by 2040. Austin earned its “Silicon Hills” nickname by attracting a wave of tech companies and start-ups. The popular dating app Bumble calls Austin its home, and increasingly so do the tech giants. Apple may soon become the city’s largest employer, with its new 133-acre campus set to open in 2022, potentially housing 15,000 employees. Downtown Austin’s corporate landscape is thriving, thanks in part to a hiring surge by Facebook and new offices from Google and Oracle. South Austin is one of the hottest areas for economic development in Texas. The gentrification along South Congress Avenue and, more recently, South First Street has fueled a real estate boom that extends to the retail business. South Congress draws heavy foot traffic with live music, boutique hotels and trendy stores, and it also is attracting growing attention from major retail chains. San Antonio-based H-E-B, which has about two dozen stores and 14,000 employees in Austin, plans to invest $200 million across three new stores in South Austin.

That includes a 130,000-sq.-ft. supercenter at Slaughter Lane and I-35 that incorporates a pharmacy with drivethru, curbside and delivery services, a True Texas BBQ restaurant with a drive-thru, a bar with beer and wine selections, and outdoor seating with a play area for kids. (The opening of the site, originally scheduled for March 22, was pushed back several months to June 10, due in part to the pandemic and partially to construction issues.) H-E-B also recently opened a new digital hub in East Austin as the headquarters for delivery company Favor, which it acquired in 2018. H-E-B is a regional powerhouse and dominates the grocery market in Austin, but the national chains are not standing pat. Target and Whole Foods Market, for example, are opening locations in Saltillo, a 10-acre mixed-use development being built between East Fourth and East Fifth streets, just east of downtown Austin in a building where Google is leasing a seven-story office tower. Also this year, Walmart plans to open a new supercenter in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park.


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NASHVILLE, TENN. Where the market is as hot as the chicken Could Nashville, aka Music City, one day look

more like Houston or Atlanta? In recent years, Nashville has retained its small-town charm despite the push toward urbanization and a steady stream of new residents into the heart of the city. From 2010 to 2018, downtown Nashville saw a 130% increase in its population growth, far outpacing the rest of the city. The current downtown population of 13,000 is expected to jump to 21,000 in the next four years, according to the 2019 Annual Review report from the Nashville Downtown Partnership. Overall, Nashville remains one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Its population increased from 569,000 in 2000 to 705,000 in 2020, with the greater metro Nashville area now topping 1.75 million. One sure sign of Nashville’s urbanization has been the expansion of major grocery chains in the area. Downtown Nashville had exactly zero full-service grocery stores as recently as 2006. Now it has four, with the most recent being a new Whole Foods Market, which includes a full-service coffee bar, at the base of a luxury apartment complex on Broadway, a stone’s throw from Kroger and Trader Joe’s. Publix also entered the Nashville market late last year with a new store in nearby Capitol View and has its sights set on two other new locations in the area. Kroger has done especially well in stealing share from the other chains. From 2017 to 2019, Kroger increased its share of the Nashville grocery market from about 10% to 28.6%, according to research firm Statista, while Walmart’s leading share jumped from 26% to 31%. Rounding out the top five last year were Publix (6%), Sam’s Club (5%) and Costco


(3%). Kroger has poured more than $122 million into the Middle Tennessee market in the last three years to renovate, expand or open 36 stores, according to a Kroger rep quoted in The Tennessean. Smaller footprint stores are the wave of the future in Nashville, according to a February article in the Nashville Post, in which analysts signaled a possible foray into the area by Lidl and Dollar General’s DXG, as well as likely additional new small-format stores from Target and Sprouts Farmers Market. “Concepts like Amazon Go — which utilize less footprint — provide an affordable urban solution that integrates incredible technology,” analyst Joe Bucher of Nashvillebased architectural design firm Gresham Smith told the Post. “The issue is you need a lot of foot traffic to make something like this work. As the urban community continues to grow, we will eventually see one of these pop up.” All of these chains will be competing with a growing array of independent stores like local organic grocer Turnip Truck, which will open its third location in Charlotte later this year. The East Nashville store has been a fixture ever since it opened in 2001, and now the entire neighborhood is booming. East Nashville made the top 10 hottest neighborhoods list by travel website Lonely Planet back in 2017. “Music City is known for its country crooners and the honky tonks on Lower Broadway, but just across the Cumberland River in East Nashville, residents march to the beat of a different drum,” noted the site, citing the quirky Tomato Art Festival and plentiful dining spots with everything from tacos to local favorite hot chicken.


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Source: Nielsen xAOC 52 weeks ending 9/28/2019. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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COLUMBUS, OHIO A diverse population and a campus fuel the city’s growth “A rare Midwest success story.”

That is how Forbes once summed up the economic expansion in Ohio’s capital city in the years following the Great Recession. In 2019, Columbus surpassed San Francisco to become the 14th largest U.S. city, with a population of 892,000, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates. Columbus rarely receives the media attention of hot markets in the Sunbelt or Pacific Northwest. Yet, its population growth rates are on par with such cities as Phoenix, San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas. From 2010 to 2018, the Columbus metropolitan area grew 10.8% to just over 2.1 million residents. Researchers said they expect that figure to reach 3 million by 2050, or a nearly 50% increase over the next three decades. One downside to the hot market is that real estate developers are having trouble keeping pace with the increases. A 2018 study from real estate research firm Vogt Strategic Insights showed that Columbus needs 14,000 new housing units per year to accommodate all those new residents, but numbers hover at around 8,000 per year. The increasing diversity of the Central Ohio region is reflected by the influx of retailers that include Saraga International Grocery, which now has three Columbus locations. As Columbus Monthly noted on Dec. 31, 2019, “Saraga is not your average grocery. By carrying produce and provisions from all over the world, the 40,000-sq.-ft. market caters to the needs of Columbus’ increasingly multicultural population — one made up of large Somali and BhutaneseNepali communities as well as Central Americans, Chinese and other immigrant and refugee groups.” Saraga’s location in the Northland neighborhood of Columbus is ideal, the paper reported. According to the U.S. Census, that general area of Franklin County added more


than 11,000 foreign-born residents from 2000 to 2016, far outgaining the number of U.S.-born residents that moved into the area during that time. Retail in Columbus continues to evolve as department stores and big-box stores are replaced by mixed-use lifestyle centers with movie theaters, yoga studios, restaurants and grocery stores. New developments include a Scene75 entertainment center, which took over an old Macy’s mall location at Tuttle Crossing on the northwest side, as well as the Chantry Square shopping center in the Blacklick area, where empty Best Buy and Sports Authority stores have been filled with Trampoline Xtreme and an Otherworld immersive art exhibit. Another noteworthy development is 250,000-sq.-ft. shopping center Hamilton Quarter, which is scheduled to open this year and includes Target among its retail anchors. Hamilton Quarter is minutes from the growing New Albany Business Park neighborhood, which counts Abercrombie & Fitch, Discover Financial Services, Bob Evans Farms, Facebook and Amazon among its employers. Target and other major chains also are cropping up in the area around Ohio State University. OSU’s main campus was rated the top location for young adults age 18 to 34 years old by city guide website Columbus Navigator, based on changes in population from 2010 and 2017. Others included Weinland Park, Italian Village and the Short North, a hip arts district known for coffee houses, craft beers and casual restaurants. “Outside of German Village, the Short North is one of the granddaddies of urban revitalization,” the site noted. “It’s been a magnet for younger professionals looking for a walkable, vibrant neighborhood close to downtown.”


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BOSTON Beantown offers opportunity to a growing chunk of millennials No city in America celebrates the seasons quite the way Boston does — at least when there

isn’t an ongoing pandemic. During the course of a typical year, in the spring, there’s the Boston Marathon and Patriots Day. Summer means whale watching, concerts and the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Leaves of gold, orange and red turn Boston into an autumn spectacle, while skating and sledding mean winter fun. Walking trails, historical landmarks, neighborhood eateries and a vibrant arts scene add to the city’s richness and appeal. No wonder Boston is one of the country’s hottest markets, especially for young people. In its special report, “City of Millennials,” the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce noted that 34% of the city’s population is made up of people who are 20 to 34 years old. When an old, vibrant city is populated by so many young people, change must occur. Affordable housing is at a premium and the aging transportation system requires an upgrade. In its July 2019 report, REBusiness Online highlights the demand for retail space in Boston and cites Arsenal Yards as a new, mixed use urban village with 250,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Arsenal Yards is in Watertown, Mass., a suburb just west of Boston on the Charles River. Boston Landing, in the city’s Brighton neighborhood, is a similar project. It stands along the Massachusetts Turnpike and is adjacent to the New Balance world headquarters. Boston Landing is home to the Boston Bruins’ practice facility and also will be the future practice home of the Boston Celtics. The Seaport District near South Boston blends century-old warehouses with new architecture to create a neighborhood that’s attractive to residents and visitors. The transportation infrastructure upgrade is needed to make these destinations more accessible. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, pointed out that while retail is doing well, it is undergoing change. Stores have smaller footprints and


must cater to the convenience that shopping by smartphone demands. He said that among mass merchandisers, Target has a big presence in the city and that Ahold’s Stop & Shop brand is the supermarket leader. CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens dominate the drug store market. According to 2018 Census figures, Boston has a city population of 694,583 and a metropolitan area population of 4.7 million, which makes it the 10th largest city in the country. Census data shows that Boston’s city population has grown 12.4% since 2010 and has surpassed 600,000 for the first time since the 1970s. In its 2019 “Readers’ Choice Awards,” Conde Nast Traveler ranked Boston third most favorable in the large U.S. cities category. For starters, there are more than 50 institutions of higher learning in the greater Boston area, and more job openings than in any of the other top 10 major metropolitan areas in the country, according to Glassdoor’s 2019 annual “Job Market Trends Report.” Boston’s year-over-year job openings percentage of 8.4 is tops among the top 10 major metro areas, while its median base pay of $61,987 ranks sixth. Glassdoor’s report showed that Boston’s job market growth is diverse, with health care, government and nonprofit opportunities leading the way. Four of Boston’s 10 largest employers are hospitals — Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The median household income for Boston, according to Census Bureau figures covering 2014 to 2018, was $65,883, well above the U.S. norm of $60,293. In terms of education, 48.5% of the city’s population of people aged 25 years old and older have a bachelor’s degree compared with the U.S. figure of 31.5%. Put it all together, and one sees Boston as a very affluent area with a strong urban core that has a desire for new, omnichannel food, fitness and entertainment outlets and convenience.


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THE IMPORTANCE OF PUPPY AND KITTEN HOW WINNING AT THE START CAN UNLOCK A GROWING SALES OPPORTUNITY A conversation with Joe Toscano, Vice President, Trade & Industry Development at Purina With so many people spending more time at home, pet adoption and fostering have increased dramatically. In fact, during the first month of most stay-at-home orders, Petfinder saw adoption inquiries jump 122 percent between March 15 and April 15 compared to the four weeks prior. A spike in adoptions indicates a potential rise in the number of pets in households and possibly an increase of households to the pet category. With roughly 4 out of 5 dog and cat acquisitions being puppies and kittens, puppy and kitten formulas already held great potential for growth prior to the pandemic with a 1.8 percent annual growth rate for the puppy and kitten category. The spike in adoptions and fostering could accelerate that growth rate. What should these new pet parents know about feeding their new little family members? Puppies and kittens will put almost anything in their mouths, but it doesn’t mean they should. Like their human counterparts, young dogs and cats have specific nutrition requirements to support their rapid growth and development. Puppy and kitten bodies are fast-growing, but unlike babies, they pack all their growth into a few short years. Puppies and kittens need a higher level of calories and protein, DHA, antioxidants and bioactive substances for the first one to two years. Talk with your veterinarian about your puppy or kitten to ensure you know what they need for a long, healthy, happy life.

Why is it important for retailers to understand the role pet food specially formulated for puppies and kittens plays in the overall pet category? The first purchase with puppy and kitten is a lucrative one as it typically includes leashes, bowls and toys, but the interesting thing is that consumers tend to stay with the store for future pet purchases. If retailers can win with puppy and kitten, they can expect to see an increase in channel loyalty and additional sales in areas outside of pet as consumers seek additional cleaning items and replacement of broken items. How can these retailers merchandise and market products for puppies and kittens in ways that will boost sales and increase loyalty throughout the pet’s life? There are multiple ways to capitalize on the power of puppy and kitten. • At Shelf. Shelve kitten and puppy formulas with their parent brand and ensure an optimal assortment of SKUs. • Timing. New adoptions happen year-round, but there is a spike for puppies and kittens through the summer months, typically May – August, and another spike in puppy adoptions in December. Retailers can capitalize on the timely bump with promotions and displays. These promotions and displays can stimulate additional purchases including profitable items like bowls, leashes, toys and litter for the kittens. This type of merchandising lets your consumers know you are in the pet business and can increase loyalty, basket ring and category profit.

• Educate. According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey, households that acquire a puppy typically transition from puppy food to an adult formula 5-6 months after acquisition, which is too early. Utilize signage to educate on the benefits of feeding puppy and kitten for the first one to two years before transitioning to adult formulas. • Cross-promote. Puppy and kitten owners won’t just need food for their new little ones. Keep those customers in your store by cross-promoting the other cat and dog supplies you have including beds, toys and bowls.


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What is Purina doing to support these new pet owners? Purina has a Puppy Event running from now through the end of the year to educate consumers on the benefits of feeding puppy food. Most puppy owners believe puppies have unique needs (92 percent) but only 25 percent feed puppy food exclusively. Puppy owners don’t realize how important it is to feed puppy food to their pets. Purina will be offering merchandising vehicles, digital coupons, educational info, and other assets to support the event. Reach out to your local Purina sales associate to customize a plan that is right for your store. Purina trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

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PORTLAND, ORE. After a brief slowdown, Portland’s growth is back Renowned for its hiking trails and eco-friendly sportswear brands, Portland has long lured masses

of urban dwellers looking for a better way of life. The migration slowed in the mid-2010s, as Portland’s population increased just 0.7% from 2017 to 2018. Yet, considering that it rebounded 1.3% to 657,100 last year, according to researchers at Portland State University, the recent slowdown may have only been a temporary pause in the Portland boom. Portland’s economic expansion tells a similar story. The city’s median household income jumped 34% to $73,100 between 2005 and 2018, as Portland leapt from No. 22 to No. 8 among the 50 wealthiest U.S cities. However, as The Oregonian noted last May, “Oregon’s mid-decade economic boom has slowed and employers are hiring less than they had been.” That includes Portland, with a job growth in 2019 at just 0.9%, as compared with a national average of 1.6%. Regional economists said, however, that this reflects the region’s tight labor market more so than broad economic weakness. Most experts said they believe the future of Portland’s job market is bright. Portland’s retail marketplace continues to expand, thanks to an eclectic mix of trendy boutiques and chain stores. Kroger’s Fred Meyer banner, with headquarters in Portland, was named best supermarket chain in the state last year by 24/7 Tempo, based on data from Yelp and Google Trends. Walmart has two supercenters on the outskirts of the city, while Target’s nine Portland-area stores include a downtown location. Nearby, Gresham’s nearly 300,000-sq.-ft. open-air village Gresham Station — which opened in late 2018 — is a major draw for Portland residents, with tenants including Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ulta Beauty and Old Navy. The recent sensation created by Japanese lifestyle retailer Muji illustrates why so many upstart brands


flock to Portland. Muji took over the old Macy’s space in the Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland and has been using the store to experiment with such avant-garde merchandising tactics as creating dramatic walls filled with a single product and suspending ordinary items like brooms from the ceiling. Clearly, the approach is working: Muji ranked third on the Forbes “2019 Top Ten Best Retail Chain Experiences” behind Nike House of Innovation and Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Looking ahead, Portland’s retail business is poised for further growth. Local officials said they expect Portland’s population will grow to nearly 900,000 by 2035, which will include some 140,000 new employees. That influx should benefit not only the well-known Central City shopping hubs of West End and the Pearl District, but also the many up-and-coming areas in the outskirts of the city. One of the fastest-growing neighborhoods is Parkrose Heights, a corner section nestled between I-84 and I-205 in Northeast Portland. It offers affordable housing and convenient shopping, particularly with the addition of Cascade Station, an expansive shopping area near the airport anchored by Ikea and Target. Another is southeastern Montavilla, which has been named one of the top 10 neighborhoods to visit in 2017 by travel website Lonely Planet, thanks to a smattering of shops, restaurants and bars along the core of Stark Street. As the site noted, “Fifteen or so years ago, this neighborhood had a seedier reputation, but an active neighborhood association steadily worked to sort it out, drawing in new businesses like the beloved Country Cat. Now there’s a busy Sunday farmers market, a handful of craft cocktail and beer bars, cute little independent shops and a dive bar, Montavilla Station, known for its weekend blues jams.”


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CHARLOTTE, N.C. Banks, yes. But how about a wind farm? Charlotte has long been known as a major commerce and banking center. But thanks to a thriving

economy, an influx of highly educated young families and tech-minded entrepreneurs, growing infrastructure, and an abundance of undeveloped land, the home of Bank of America’s U.S. headquarters now is a breeding ground for the likes of Amazon and Apple. Charlotte was recently named the No. 2 metro area in the country for economic growth potential by the Business Facilities 13th Annual Rankings Report, partly on the strength of Apple’s new $5 billion data center and Amazon’s new $375 million data-powered wind farm. The region’s favorable climate and Charlotte’s surging population also are a boon for the renewable energy sector. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina with a population of 872,498 as of 2018, according to the most recent Census data, and was the seventh fastest-growing U.S. city from 2010 to 2018. A recent report by Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill found that Charlotte’s population is expected to swell to 2.4 million by 2030. In terms of the retail picture, Charlotte was recently dubbed “ground zero in the grocery wars.” Amazon’s aggressive discounting at Whole Foods Market stores, Target’s increased emphasis on fresh food, and the continued expansion of Lidl and Publix all are putting pressure on Kroger’s Harris Teeter, Walmart and Food Lion, which are Charlotte’s top three grocery chains by market share, according to analysis from sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide, as reported last year in The Charlotte Observer. In February 2020, Lidl opened a new store in the Charlotte suburb of Matthews, its eighth in the area. Publix, which opened its first store in North Carolina in


the Ballantyne area back in 2014, currently has 18 locations in the region. A new 68,000-sq.-ft. Publix grocery store will be anchoring a large mixeduse facility in the SouthPark neighborhood of Charlotte. Construction is currently underway on a development that will feature 280,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 340 apartments, including about 18 units of workforce housing. Other grocery chains are making greater investments in the region. Aldi is spending $48 million to renovate 31 supermarkets in the Charlotte metro area, and Phoenix-based organic grocer Sprouts Farmers Market opened its first Charlotte store in Ballantyne last spring. Some residents and local officials also have publicly advocated for Wegmans to come to Charlotte. The Rochester, N.Y.-based chain plans to open its second store in the state in the Triangle’s West Cary area later this summer. Charlotte, with a median age of 34.1 and median household income of $60,764, was ranked last year as the 10th best city in the United States for young professionals between the ages of 25 to 34 years old by financial tech company SmartAsset. Its researchers compared the 150 biggest municipalities around the country based on a number of factors, including median rent and earnings, job diversity, unemployment rates, and the density of entertainment establishments. Real estate website Curbed.com currently features Charlotte’s “developments to watch,” including the proposed Lowe’s Design Center in the South End, a new tech hub for the home improvement chain. Hot neighborhoods, according to the site, include Plaza Midwood, a hipster haven about a mile east of the downtown Charlotte Center; Davidson, a small lakefront college town 20 miles north of the city; and the Belmont and Optimist Park areas close to downtown.


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WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. capital’s big metro area and largely well-to-do residents offer opportunity There are few destinations in the country more popular than our nation’s capital. Before the pan-

demic, families and school groups would pour into town daily to take in its national landmarks, endless museums, historical sites and natural beauty, especially at cherry blossom time. Washington, D.C., is home to the rich and powerful, so naturally it has restaurants, theaters, shopping areas and sports venues worthy of such a discerning clientele. That Amazon decided to locate its second national headquarters just outside of town in Arlington, Va., after being courted by sweetheart deals from New York, Miami, Chicago and other major municipalities, speaks volumes about the capital district’s attractiveness. That same allure is why the city’s population has swelled to 702,455 residents, according to World Population Review 2020, an increase of 16.7% from the 601,766 people who called it home when the 2010 Census was taken. It is the nation’s 24th largest city, and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area of 5.7 million people ranks seventh nationally. While Amazon’s new location will undoubtedly attract new residents to the region, many already call it home because of the city’s tourism industry and because there are so many job opportunities with the federal government. With 176 foreign embassies in town, according to Forbes, the city has a diverse population with amenities to match. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Pan American Health Organization all are based in Washington, D.C., as are many trade unions, lobbying groups and professional associations. Forbes also noted that world-famous universities — Georgetown, American University and George Washington University — have District of Columbia addresses as do the National Defense Intelligence College and National Defense University. Given the number of highly skilled professionals, it is easy to understand why housing costs in Washington,


D.C., soar way above the national median. Statistics from October 2019 published by Forbes show the cost of living in the capital region to be 17% higher than the national average, and the median home price to be $423,000. The median household income stands at $101,649, with a low unemployment rate of 3.3%. The DC Economic Strategy report states that retail represents $1.5 billion of gross domestic product for the district and provides 23,000 jobs. Since 2001, more than 7 million sq. ft. of retail space has been built in the district with another 1.5 million under construction. The report said the district’s retail market is expected to remain strong as job opportunities increase. The restaurant and bar trades have fueled the surge with a 22% increase in new business openings from 2007 to 2016 compared with a 14% increase nationally. While the full impact of the pandemic remains an open question, the report highlighted the district’s $13.9 billion in taxable retail and restaurant sales in the years it covers, representing a 40% hike since 2010. The report also pointed to the 37 new grocery store openings in the district since 2000. Like many cities, Washington, D.C.’s many neighborhoods have their own personalities and retail options. Georgetown, with its cobblestone streets, is home to many national and international shops. CityCenterDC, which is downtown, offers 10 acres of shops, cafes and restaurants, according to Washington’s Destination DC website. U Street, with its old-school style, and trendsetting 14th Street combine to create another retail hub, while Dupont Circle markets locally made goods. Giant and Safeway remain the district’s primary grocery chains, a 2018 Washingtonian report said, but other chains have taken away some of their market share. Among them are upscale markets like Wegmans and Trader Joe’s; discounters Aldi and Lidl; and mass stores like Walmart and Costco.


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MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MINN. A tale of two cities — and two dominant retail chains The seismic shifts in the U.S. retail landscape

have put most brick-and-mortar chains into one of two camps: the haves and the have-nots. Perhaps, nowhere is this trend playing out more clearly than in the Twin Cities, where, unlike the many smaller and independent chains that have struggled to stay afloat, Best Buy and Target are thriving. Minneapolis-based Target and nearby Richfield-based Best Buy are firing on all cylinders, despite suffering what most analysts said they believe is a temporary supply chain disruption due to the novel coronavirus. Both retailers have adapted to changing consumer needs and preferences by introducing new store formats, improving merchandising strategies, expanding into new categories, and beefing up services. For Best Buy, the latter has meant bolstering its vaunted blue-shirt employee tech support programs and acquiring new healthcare technology firms like BioSensics, a provider of wearable sensor technologies for clinical research and medical applications. Target, meanwhile, is expanding same-day offerings of in-store pickup, curbside pickup and delivery through its recently acquired Shipt subsidiary. In the spring, Target added fresh groceries to its pickup services, starting in the Twin Cities with plans to roll out the expanded offering to about half of the chain by the holidays, according to the company. Also this year, Target slated 36 new small-format stores to open and is mulling an even smaller convenience store-size concept that seems intended to compete with Amazon Go. Target is facing tough competition in the Minneapolis grocery market. Revamped Hy-Vee food stores and new locations from Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Fresh Thyme — along with a host of independent cooperatives that cater to millennial shoppers — are all eating into the share of more established players like former Supervalu’s Cub Foods and Walmart’s Sam’s Club. Walmart recently closed two of its


Sam’s Club locations in the Twin Cities as part of a nationwide reduction. Of course, those closures are nothing compared with the decimation of department store-based malls. On that front, downtown Minneapolis development the Dayton’s Project — whose spring opening has been indefinitely postponed by the pandemic — neatly captures the vast retail changes taking place in urban centers all across the country. The Dayton’s Project is a mixed-use retail and office space development aimed at revitalizing the downtown area on the site of the old Dayton’s department store building on Nicollet Mall. The iconic landmark was renamed Marshall Field’s in 2001 and later became a Macy’s, which closed in 2017. According to local developers, most of the potential tenants are companies that would be new to the local market. A slew of specialty stores, restaurants, a fitness center, three floors of office space, and a large food hall partially curated by TV personality Andrew Zimmerman are among the planned destinations. “Stores within Dayton’s will need to provide a flagship level experience or higher in order to be in line with destination mindset,” according to a Dec. 13, 2019 story on the Development Tracker website. The Dayton’s Project effort comes at a time when the population growth in downtown Minneapolis is slowing. At the end of 2019, there were 51,288 residents living downtown, up 3% over the prior year, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council. By comparison, the population grew by nearly 15% between 2017 and 2018. According to the Metropolitan Council, Minneapolis had a total population of 429,382 as of 2018, adding more than 46,800 people since 2010, or 12.2% growth. Like many areas of the country, Minneapolis is experiencing a population explosion in the suburbs. The increases in both Minneapolis and St. Paul last year were outstripped by the northern suburb of Blaine, for example, which saw its population jump 16.6% to 66,667.


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DENVER The Mile High City attracts every age group from Gen Z to baby boomers

Good food and weather, urban amenities, and

a thriving tech industry are among the factors that have long made Denver a prime relocation spot for millennials. Increasingly, it appears that other generations are following suit and flocking to the Mile High City. Consider the following: Denver was the only U.S. city to be ranked among the top two “most desirable” cities by all age groups, excluding Gen Z and seniors, according to a 2019 study by real estate insurance firm Covered. Among the 1,000 people surveyed, Denver tied with Nashville, Tenn., as the No. 1 pick for where to live among Gen Xers (32.5%). Yet, almost as many baby boomers (32.3%) and even more millennials (35.5%) placed Denver in either the first or second spot. Denver’s population of 716,492 continues its steady climb. The Denver-Boulder-Greeley region is expected to surpass the 4 million resident threshold — up from a little over 3.4 million in 2015 — according to an analysis of Census data and local demographic data by LawnStarter.com, which attributed the population growth to the success of tech-heavy industries following the Great Recession. Denver’s retail landscape is littered with trendy boutiques and pop-up stores that cater to younger shoppers with immersive experiences. New retailers and restaurants continue to light up the Dairy Block strip near Coors Field, as well as in the Zeppelin Station development in the River North Arts District. The latter’s mixeduse space includes a market hall with casual eateries and a revolving pop-up concept called “Made in the City.” Major chains are stepping up their game to compete with these hip new establishments. Target has been renovating 10 Denver-metro stores as part of a $150 million investment over the next two years — an amount that the company said is on par with upgrades devoted to New


York and Los Angeles. New merchandising strategies will include a revamped clothing department with more mannequins and displays; a remodeled beauty department with lower-height displays for better visibility across the store; and an expanded customer service area with a dedicated online order pickup counter. Last fall, Target introduced Disne y store-within-a-store concepts at 25 Target outlets across the country, including a Denver store that is one of two remodeled locations in Colorado. Disney mini stores at Target, situated near existing toy departments, are about 750 sq. ft. and sell more than 450 items, ranging from plush Disney characters to toys from Disney’s Marvel Comics and Star Wars lines. The previously defunct Toys “R” Us chain also is playing a major role in Denver, though in an indirect way. As the only national toy retailer, Toys “R” Us left a big hole when it went bankrupt in 2018, and retailers including Walmart, Target and even grocery stores have jumped in to fill the void by expanding their toy assortments and marketing. There also is the question of leftover real estate from Toys “R” Us’ implosion. Regional analysts said they expect a number of mixed-use developments will fill the space, anchored by fitness centers, entertainment operators and grocery stores. Several areas of Denver are enjoying population growth. However, south Denver, north Aurora and Lowry are among the hottest areas based on home price appreciation, according to an analysis by The Denver Post. Meanwhile, the real estate website Niche. com ranks South Park Hill, North Park Hill, Congress Park, Capitol Hill and Prides Crossing among Denver’s top neighborhoods to live based on crime statistics, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities and local amenities.


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HOUSTON Retail square footage abounds in the country’s fourth-largest city A combination of southern charm and international appeal, Houston is known as the “new capi-

tal of southern cool” and has become a city every retailer wants to be in. At 655 sq. miles, Houston is larger than most metropolitan areas, and with well over 2 million residents, the city trails only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in terms of size. Those under the age of 30 years old have been moving here in droves as of late, thanks in part to its Forbes’ ranking as the city where your paycheck will stretch the furthest. During the past few years, Houston was on a mission to be taken seriously as a leading global player in restaurant and retail offerings. In fact, 2019 was one of the strongest years on record for Houston’s retail real estate market. More than 4 million sq. ft. of new retail space was created in 2019. These totals were heightened by H-E-B’s addition of four new grocery stores at year’s end. From the number of new food halls and growth coming from pop-up shops to the rebirth of Toys “R” Us, there is a lot planned for this southern hot spot in 2020. Experiential stores are a big hit here, too. Take for instance the Nap Bar, which recently launched in Houston. According to the company’s website, the Nap Bar encourages shoppers to rest, reset and refresh in its soundproof pods. Revived chain Toys “R” Us has selected Houston as the location for one of its two new stores in the country. Its new concept is a much smaller version of the mega toy stores it became known for. With a focus on being an interactive experience, the new stores will feature a curated selection of its most popular toys and brands, as well as events and activities. There is even a toy-testing area where kids can try before they buy. In mid-2019, Bravery Chef Hall opened in the Aris


Market Square building, a luxury apartment building. The chef-led food hall features a collection of upscale dining concepts, ranging from Italian, sushi, Vietnamese, a 1950s-inspired diner and a craft butcher. The Understory is another new food offering in Houston. Located inside the Bank of America tower, it features 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space, including a chef-driven food market. Politan Row, another chef-driven food hall, opened in late 2019. Billed as a destination for the “culinarily curious,” the eclectic mix features 12 local vendor concepts all under one roof. Its mission is to serve people who crave unique flavors, experiences and ideas while creating opportunities for chefs to showcase their creativity. Elsewhere in the area, a new concept called The Ion is being built in the former Sears building. Said to be a mix of corporate, academic and entrepreneurial businesses, the collaborative innovation hub is backed by a consortium from Rice University, major colleges, and small and large businesses in Houston. The project is part of the 16-acre innovation district in midtown, which will include public spaces, housing and infrastructure to support the growing technology community. The long-awaited redevelopment of Post Oak Boulevard also has been completed. The uptown Houston location’s facelift has turned the area into a “grand boulevard,” featuring landscape pedestrian areas. By all measures, Houston’s retail outlook looks promising. With this growth, roughly 40,000 to 60,000 were estimated to be created before the pandemic — an estimate that could still be possible once COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror. If it happens, it will mean both housing and retail will continue to expand at a healthy pace in the coming years.


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INDUSTRY AWARDS PROGRAM Drug Store News is proud to recognize, celebrate and honor women making outstanding contributions to their companies and the industry. More than 140 women were honored November 2019 at the inaugural Top Women in Health, Wellness and Beauty event and gala. Winners were awarded in the categories of Career Achievement, Business Excellence, Commitment to Care and Rising Stars.

Who will be honored in 2020? Visit www.dsntopwomen for updates on timing for nomination opening in the spring and details on the gala event in the fall of 2020. Follow us on

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NEW YORK Resilience and adaptability make it a true retail destination Throughout its history, it was widely known that

if you could make it in New York, you could make it anywhere, and this remains largely true today. Home to many legacy retailers, New York is considered to be one of the nation’s top retail destinations. While it has not been immune to the economic pressures affecting retailers nationwide — as evidenced by the decline in the number of national chain stores operating within its five boroughs — there are clear signs of growth. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for new retail options was on the rise and new pockets of retail were emerging as projects, including Hudson Yards and Five Manhattan West. That said, the boroughs also are going through a transition. More office space is being added as are residential high rises, and e-commerce brands are establishing a physical presence here as in other metro areas. Brands that began selling direct via online, such as Casper, Indochino, Candid and Outdoor Voices, all now have a presence in the city as well. Following the strategy of retailers nationwide, many drug, mass and food merchants are readjusting their focus and introducing smaller-footprint stores or closing underperforming or overrepresented locations. However, in the case of retailers who are willing to open new locations, they are not as willing as they once were to pay higher rents, even in New York. Not only are rents on the decline, retailers are asking for and receiving greater flexibility with lease terms — and the pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. It seems the key to physical store success in New York is offering a unique experience, something that also took a hit when physical retail became a no-go situation outside of essentials. Before that, though, retailers — principal among them beauty giants Ulta and Sephora — were doing well despite operating in an ultra-competitive market. Their ability to integrate a better shopping


experience with a curated assortment of personal and beauty care products was delivering to consumers what they were not finding from department stores. Similarly, Pop Up Grocer has been successful in changing how consumers view consumer packaged goods. The retailer debuted in Manhattan in 2019 and now has two locations on the island. Its goal is simple — it doesn’t want to be where shoppers go for their daily staples. Its mission is to introduce people to what it believes are the newest and most interesting products. Pop Up Grocer’s boutique-like design is meant to be friendly, fun and inviting, featuring white walls, colorful shopping baskets, fresh pastries, coffees from a local company and curated assortments. No stranger to curated assortments for the cities it sets up in despite its national scale, Target recently announced plans to open more of its smaller 30,000-sq.-ft. stores, including one in Times Square. Similar to ones in Tribeca and the Lower East Side, the retailer is taking an individual approach in each store with regard to merchandising, replenishment and operations. To date, Target operates some 100 small-format stores and, according to its CEO, these locations are generating about three times the revenue per square foot as its bigger formats. The chain also is said to be exploring opening convenience-sized formats that would feature beauty and grab-and-go items, as well serve as a location where online orders can be picked up. This metro market may be in transition, but Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, said he believes such heavily retailed areas as New York City have the ability to be more resilient than suburban centers. The Center for an Urban Future has been tracking national retail trends for more than a decade, and according to Bowles, New York City’s diverse retail mix gives it an advantage.


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PHILADELPHIA Diversity and affordability are among the city’s primary strengths Philadelphia has long been known as “The City of Brotherly Love,” yet it is the city outsiders

just love to hate — particularly when it comes to sports. While its love-hate reputation may seem enigmatic, it is a sign of just how proud and passionate Philadelphians are. There is something about pride and passion that attracts everyone, not just athletes and their fans. People want to be part of the team, one of the good guys, unafraid to express themselves. Maybe that is why, despite a poverty rate that persistently hovers around 25%, Philadelphia continues to grow slowly but steadily. A sanctuary city, it remains a popular place for immigrants to settle. John Holub, executive director of the Pennsylvania Retailers Association, said that slow and steady would also be a good way to describe the metropolitan area’s retail growth, which he estimated to be 2% to 3% year over year, driven by a strong national economy before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the coronavirus scare has had a recent impact, he said what has been a strong U.S. economy has driven that growth. Acme, ShopRite and Wegman’s are among the region’s most popular supermarkets, while Walmart, Costco and Target are leading mass merchandisers. According to current World Population Review statistics, Philadelphia is the East Coast’s second-largest city, with 1,584,138 residents — 3.8% more than the 1,526,009 residents recorded by the 2010 U.S. Census. The city is situated in the Delaware Valley, which is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the country at more than 6 million residents. In terms of ethnic makeup, 42.3% of the city’s residents are Black, while 41.2% are white. The average household income is $43,744, considerably below the U.S. norm of $60,293. Yet, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s website, residents in the metropolitan area earn an average salary of $54,940 and the 2018 median home price of $200,142 is below

the national average of $227,025. The Delaware River, which separates the city from New Jersey, not only makes Philadelphia one of the country’s most historically significant cities, but one of its most active ports. Once a major manufacturing center, Philadelphia’s primary industries nowadays are the biosciences, financial services and tourism. Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, which includes 12 schools, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and several cultural organizations, is the city’s leading employer, according to 2019 Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry statistics. Temple University and Drexel University also are among the city’s top 10 employers. The city offers attractions of all kinds. Its four major professional sports franchises all have robust and passionate fan bases. The placid Schuylkill River plays host to some of America’s top rowing competitions. The Kimmel Center serves as the city’s fine arts hub and includes the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra; the renovated Academy of Music, home to Opera Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet; and the Merriam Theater. Once the capital of Revolutionary War-era America, Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall and many other sites of historical significance. As for retail, Center City is a shopping mecca with its restaurants and boutiques. According to the Center City District’s report “Center City Philadelphia Retail 2019,” more than 308,000 Center City workers, 193,000 residents, 3.6 million hotel room occupants and 111,000 college students create more than $1 billion in annual retail demand. The new Market East district, which stretches east of Broad Street, the city’s main north-south thoroughfare, is providing an additional 1.2 million sq. ft. of retail.


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Safely Navigating a Storm Pharmacies and their tech and automation partners keep things running smoothly behind the counter to ensure patient safety By Sandra Levy


t is not easy keeping patients safe. Indeed, despite its importance, it is just one of a host of duties pharmacists are responsible for on a daily basis — a list that has only grown as the COVID-19 pandemic has worn on. On any given day, pharmacists are filling an increasing volume of 90-day prescriptions, supervising or conducting COVID19 tests, providing masks, making hand sanitizer, counseling patients, and helping patients return to their regular vaccination schedules. Pharmacists also will have



a significant role in the deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. All of this is done while making sure they accurately fill prescriptions and adhere to federal regulations. In order to juggle these responsibilities while continuing to ensure patient safety and improve patients’ health, many retailers turn to technology and automation companies, many of which have been responding with a sense of urgency amid the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. They have been churning out

innovative technologies and solutions, as well as enhanced functionalities that make pharmacists’ workflow more efficient and free them up to focus on patient safety and positive health outcomes. They also have been helping pharmacies deal with changes in regulations amid the pandemic.

Following the Law

Verifying prescriptions that come into the pharmacy is a critical first step in the process of filling a script, which the COVID19 pandemic has complicated. Craig Ford,

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senior vice president of the pharmacy market at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said that a recent Drug Enforcement Administration change that allows providers to prescribe all classes of controlled substances without an in-person medical exam during the COVID-19 pandemic means that the safety responsibilities of pharmacies have expanded. “This includes ensuring that only authorized practitioners prescribe specific medications to ensure patient safety, particularly as the state prescribing rules continue to evolve,” Ford said. To meet these changes, LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ VerifyRx Prescriptive Authority Edit feature accurately checks state-specific prescriber credentials so that a provider’s prescriptive authority can be narrowed down to the drug level. “With its ability to allow pharmacies to create corporate policy specific rules, VerifyRx helps determine the necessary credentials required to prescribe any given drug,” Ford said. “Pharmacies can enable and manage all their prescriptive authority configurations in one place, while ensuring patient safety.” Changes to prescribing rules during the pandemic join other ongoing regulations governing pharmacy, including the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, which addresses the chain of custody of medications from the manufacturer to the patient to ensure patient safety. DSCSA’s deadline for compliance by wholesalers is this year, while retailer compliance is set for 2023. For the past seven years, Kennesaw, Ga.based KNAPP has been engaged in helping wholesalers comply with DSCSA.“Counterfeit medications are a large concern and a significant patient risk,” said Brian Sullivan, the company’s senior systems sales manager of healthcare solutions USA and Canada. “Most of KNAPP’s efforts have been focused on the first stage of distribution, from the manufacturer to the wholesalers, both of whom are KNAPP’s customers.” In order for wholesalers to meet DSCSA deadline compliance, he said they would have had to add a significant number of employees to manually scan individual medications to confirm serialization.


“We worked with our customers to automate this process at the wholesaler level. In addition to facing similar staffing concerns as wholesalers, retailers have the added pressure of compressed margins,” Sullivan said. “We are using what we have learned to accelerate the process for retailers to address compliance with the regulation, and assure that patients are indeed receiving the correct medications.” KNAPP’s Vision Item Check, a semiautomated verification system for medications used downstream of automatic picking systems, is yet another system that fosters patient safety. “The system’s powerful cameras read and process the data contained in 1-D and 2-D codes, which include security features on packaging, lot information, date mark (date of minimum durability), and quality features of the articles,” he said. Additionally, KNAPP’s Vision Central Belt automatically reads 2-D and QR Codes of medications on KNAPP’s central belt systems to verify that the correct medication is being supplied for the pharmacy and patient. Safety is not only for patients, though. KNAPP ATD-L1P Automated Tablet Dispenser, with a modular dust and particle

collection system, helps pharmacies meet <USP 800> requirements that are intended to assure the safest environment for pharmacy employees, who work with the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and 1, 2 and 3 hazardous medications. “Pharmacies are incorporating this modular solution to minimize medication dust and particles when replenishing and dispensing medications,” Sullivan said. “By incorporating this technology into their systems, more medications are able to stay in automated systems, and pharmacy staff at both centralized and retail pharmacies have less exposure to NIOSH 1, 2 and 3 medicines.” Pharmacy technology companies also are concerned with helping pharmacists increase patients’ adherence with their medication regimens.

Automating Adherence and Safety

When it comes to filling prescriptions accurately — and doing so in a way that can help improve patient health and, ideally, outcomes downstream — robotics and pharmacy management platforms are popular choices for retailers.


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Mission, Kan.-based ScriptPro CEO Mike Coughlin said that as healthcare systems and pharmacies are being called upon to provide critical services to their communities amid COVID-19, ScriptPro’s robotic prescription dispensing systems utilize numerous tech features, such as barcode scanning, to ensure accuracy and safety. “Pharmacies experiencing staff shortages and the need for social distancing also can use robots,” Coughlin said. “We can deploy these quickly and efficiently into any pharmacy environment, along with training and 24/7 support.” ScriptPro’s workflow and pharmacy management systems also can leverage built-in communications capabilities to send text messages to patients, explaining procedures for accessing pharmacy services. “We will deploy this messaging service at no charge to customers using our communications module,” he said. Additionally, ScriptPro’s software platforms can implement PharmacyPro, a mobile application to support curbside or


delivery mobile dispensing and point of sale functions. “We can stand up or expand remote access solutions to allow staff to operate our workflow and pharmacy management platforms from home or other remote locations,” Coughlin said. Finally, ScriptPro’s web-based Advanced Pharmacy Clinical Services extension to its pharmacy management platforms pivoted quickly to launch clinical programs and protocols for outpatient COVID-19 patient case management, Coughlin said. “We will update these regularly as new data is released, including new information from clinical trials impacting outpatient treatment,” he said. “We also are ensuring that our drug information database includes the latest drug variations to facilitate dispensing.” Automation also is taking on even greater importance in helping pharmacies to foster patient safety. Synergy Medical, a Canadabased company, is a case in point. The company makes SynMed, an automation system for multidose and single-dose blister packs.

Mark Rinker, Synergy Medical vice president of sales for North America, said that patient safety starts with taking medication as prescribed, and that the prescription delivery method can greatly enhance, or impair, a patient’s ability to accurately self-administer. Rinker cited the 2006 Federal Study of Adherence to Medications in the Elderly, which compared a patient’s adherence to vials (61%) versus multidose blisters (97%). “The group self-administering their medication with multidose blisters had a statistical improvement in their underlying condition. Multidose blisters, therefore, are a cornerstone to a comprehensive medication strategy to enhance patient adherence and safety,” he said. Rinker said he believes that manual production bottlenecks and accuracy levels are an impediment to scale the multidose service, and that this is where automation can play a critical role to allow independent pharmacies and pharmacy chains to safely and accurately scale this patient safety service. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rinker noted several trends, including how pharmacies are expanding their multidose blister service to meet the demand of patients wanting their medication organized by the pharmacy in an easy to follow format and delivered to their home. “In long-term care, we see pharmacies reviewing their medication delivery protocols to reduce touches during preparation and reduce bedside administration time,” he said. “In order to facilitate patient safety, the trend is away from single-dose blister cards and toward a multidose blister solution. Finally, COVID-19 has exposed pharmacies that rely on manual prescription preparation like no other time, and the resulting move to more pharmacy automation will help ensure the timely and uninterrupted supply of patient prescriptions.” Adherence is the focus of Apple Creek, Ohio-based Euclid Medical Products, which recently introduced Vantage Vision MDM 1 and MDM 2, a line of verification machines that automatically check multidose medication pouches quickly and accurately. Vantage Vision MDM 1 is designed for retail and smaller closed-door pharmacies


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that want to verify medication pouches to reduce the time-consuming process of manual verification. The conveniently sized vision system has fully integrated software, which will confirm the size, shape and color of each pill in the pouch package. The MDM 1 Series records images of each pouch and will flag suspect pouches for further verification. Verifying up to 45 pouches per minute, the MDM 1 Series is meant for pharmacies looking to streamline the verification process. Vantage Vision MDM 2, a larger scale model designed for pharmacies running multiple packaging machines’ speeds, can verify up to 75 pouches per minute. “When it comes to automation, manual


verification can be a very time-consuming process,” said Kevin Copsey, business unit director at Euclid Medical Products. “Introducing Vantage Vision MDM 1 and MDM 2 into our product lineup was a natural product line expansion to complement our new line of next generation Axial multidose adherence pouch packaging machines.” To reduce false positives in the pouch verification process, both machines in the Vantage Vision line are equipped with an agitator, a mechanism for ensuring that pills are sitting flat in the pouch. This agitator technology, along with highly sophisticated software algorithms, greatly reduces the likelihood of receiving false positives.

Smart functions in the software allow for a user-friendly interface and process flow. Reports can be printed or exported, and any repaired pouches can be registered by capturing a new image at the Repair Station. Through various processes, the software enables pharmacists to link data to a specific bar code, even after the medication pouches have left the pharmacy.

Managing Volume

Johnson City, N.Y.-based Innovation is making headway in working with its customers to understand their needs and improve patient safety at high volume and central-fill sites through its suite of pharmacy automation


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Essential. A distinction we proudly embrace together.

Throughout the battle against COVID-19, Amneal, America’s pharmacies, and distributors have played an essential role in

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helping support patient health. Together, we have evolved to keep our teams safe, our businesses open and the supply of important medicines flowing. As the pandemic continues to grip our nation, we’ve never been more proud of our “Essential” distinction. Working hand-in-hand, Amneal and America’s pharmacy supply chain will continue to stand tall for patients today and tomorrow.

amneal.com Copyright © 2020 Amneal Pharmaceuticals. All Rights Reserved. AMN-DSN 08.20

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solutions led by its Symphony software. “Our team of pharmacists and software professionals work with our customers to navigate the ever-evolving compliance landscape,” said Marvin Richardson, CEO of Innovation. “As compliance becomes more tied to reimbursement, working with our customers to take advantage of the Symphony Platform’s broad range of tools helps our customers to improve management of their compliance initiatives.” Richardson pointed out that given Innovation’s footprint across U.S. military pharmacy, which includes application of the Healthcare Failure Mode and Effect Analysis developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health system, the company can help identify risks in an organization, analyze the ways in which processes can fail and take corrective action before failures have occurred. “This means our customers can be assured that patient safety is paramount at Innovation, and that they will realize improved patient safety outcomes,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a defining moment for Innovation to work with its customers to transform pharmacy and take advantage of the power of pharmacy automation solutions to allow pharmacists the opportunity to increase their collective focus on patient care, Richardson said. “The question we’re working with our customers to answer is, ‘How can we work together to unleash the full potential of pharmacy?’” he said. “Innovation is working with its customers to shift scheduled dispensing work to central fill so that pharmacists can continue to play a critical role in health care, and step into new roles and responsibilities amid the pandemic. We are committed to working with pharmacists to focus on their singular and collective motivation, which is the patient.”

Supporting Expanded Services

Pharmacy technology companies also are stepping up to the plate to help pharmacies operate more efficiently so that pharmacists have more time to provide such clinical services as COVID-19 testing and immunizations. Mountain View, Calif.-based Omnicell is focused on providing pharmacies with digital


solutions to support pharmacy safety, as well as free up pharmacists to handle additional responsibilities. These goals have taken on added urgency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Danny Sanchez, vice president and general manager of Omnicell’s population health solutions division. “We know that pharmacists are going to be asked to do more. Pharmacies have already been given the go-ahead by new federal and state regulations to conduct COVID testing, and immunizations are coming,” Sanchez said. “We know that the only delivery method for millions of those interactions will be at the retail pharmacy. Pharmacists are already doing a lot, and patient safety is their No. 1 concern. We are diving into our digital engagement and clinical solutions, and orchestrating them to free up pharmacists’ time so they may have more efficient interactions with patients.” Sanchez cited his division’s medication synchronization solution as an offering, which ensures that patients haven’t had a change in their medication therapy. Med sync also consolidates all of a patient’s prescriptions so that

the pharmacist can fill them at the same time. “Our system sets up when it is time to refill a prescription,” he said. “We send a message asking a patient if there is any change in their medication therapy. If you say ‘yes,’ the system alerts the pharmacist to call to have a discussion. If they see that there are no changes, the pharmacist is confident that they are filling the right drugs for the patient. That ensures that the pharmacist is taking proper accountability and looking at the full profile. With med sync, we paint a full picture for pharmacists, and that increases safety and improves health outcomes.” Patients also can receive reminders when their prescription will be ready, and they are asked if there are any changes. “These reminders also improve pharmacy workflow and return to stock, which is a big issue,” Sanchez said. Omnicell’s med sync offering also enables pharmacists to consolidate all of a patient’s medications so that they may be picked up on a single day. “This reduces the work for the pharmacy and reduces the number of patient


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Unleashing the full potential of pharmacy is central to all we do. At Innovation, we are focused on advancing the profession of pharmacy through our leading-edge pharmacy automation solutions. We partner with you to increase your efficiency, improve patient outcomes and renew pharmacist/patient relationships for the better health and wellness of the communities you serve. And that’s a prescription for success.

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visits to the pharmacy, thereby reducing exposure to COVID-19 or any disease, even the common cold,” Sanchez said. Yet another offering from Omnicell’s Population Health Solutions unit, which aids in patient safety, is the recently launched CareScheduler, an automated solution that digitizes the existing manual and inefficient processes of scheduling, managing and reporting vaccinations, as well as point-of-care testing. CareScheduler utilizes such familiar communication tools as mobile messaging and convenient chatbots to streamline and simplify the entire process of notifying patients about available therapies and tests, and then manages every step in the process of administering them, including follow-up. “We knew that retail pharmacies are looking for solutions now to manage the wave of immunizations that will come, as well as the continuing need for COVID testing,” Sanchez said. “The CDC is recommending that everyone get a flu vaccine this year. You’ll have an influx of patients who will get the flu immunization and people will need the COVID immunization, which will hopefully be available. The CareScheduler app streamlines and simplifies these essential pharmacy processes.” With an automated care scheduling solution like CareScheduler, pharmacists can deliver appointment-based vaccinations, while reducing the number of pharmacy walk-ins. “The result is better health outcomes for patients, and better business results for pharmacies. We’re enabling our technology to work so the system can help people plan everything. They show up and get their immunization, and can walk away. Everything is done with consumer-friendly chatbots and text messages,” Sanchez said. “You get a text message from the pharmacy, answer questions and register for an onsite test. We’ve always done immunizations, but gearing up to do it in mass is what our pharmacy and health plan partners are asking for.”

Keeping Things Running

As critical as automating scheduling for patients to get therapies, tests and


immunizations is, ensuring that safety checks are in place in pharmacy workflows to dispense the correct drug and correct dosage for patients is just as important. RxBenefits, based in Birmingham, Ala., is a technology-enabled pharmacy benefits optimizer that has more than 500 pharmacy pricing, data and clinical experts delivering prescription drug program savings to employee benefit consultants and their self-insured employer clients through improved pharmacy benefit contracts and clinical management. Kelly Chillingworth, RxBenefits’ director of business development, said that RxBenefits’ data, technology and professional service solutions help boost economic and clinical value by ensuring members get the right dose of the right medication for the right condition at the right time. “Our responsibility is advocating inside the complex pharmacy ecosystem to serve the best financial interest of the plan sponsor and the best health interest of the members,” she said. When a pharmacist or pharmacy technician enters a prescription for a medication into a pharmacy system, RxBenefits ensures a series of checks are performed to ensure the medication is both cost-effective and being prescribed in accordance with Food and Drug Administration guidelines. In addition to the standard edits its backend PBM partners put in place — things like quantity limits and step therapies — RxBenefits’ clinical team maintains a low clinical value drug formulary to eliminate wasteful spending, so valuable healthcare dollars can be redirected to more effective prevention and treatment strategies. “We add extra eyes and helping hands to support both busy prescribers and pharmacists in their efforts to create better healthcare outcomes,” Chillingworth said. To improve member safety, while helping to manage plan spend, RxBenefits’ in house clinical pharmacists perform prior authorizations on certain high cost brand and generic prescriptions that are frequently prescribed off-label, intended for very limited use or that may have dosing errors. “In-house prior authorization review is

an excellent way to ensure the right patient gets the right medication at the right time, and for facilitating communication with the prescriber,” Chillingworth said. Prior authorization also promotes lower cost options in a clinical category, which is a driver of patient adherence. “We can help keep the costs down for patients and save money for the plan sponsor,” Chillingworth said. “When co-pays are too high, people don’t take their medication. By offering a lower cost option through prior authorization, we can help improve adherence if people can afford their medication over time.” Finally, as pharmacists increasingly are interacting with customers at the drivethru, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more essential that there is clear communication between patients and pharmacists to ensure safety. Cincinnati-based Bavis Drive-Thru has engineered an intelligent audio system known as B.E.A.M., which integrates into the pharmacy’s audio system, reducing environmental noise by as much as 90%. “At all times, and especially currently, the ability of patients to converse with pharmacists is of the utmost importance. Thankfully, patients and their authorized caregivers can conduct essential transactions at their local pharmacy’s drive-thru. Not only does this save time, but it also offers the convenience and safety of being able to attend to health needs, while maintaining an adequate distance,” said William Sieber, Bavis DriveThru president. “However, pharmacy drivethru is exposed to many oft unpredictable environmental stressors, including the constant clutter of noise and violent weather patterns. Conversations can prove to be quite difficult, and simply being heard is only part of the battle.” Being understood with clarity when communicating such vital information as dosages of prescribed pharmaceuticals is not only important, but potentially can be a life-and-death affair, he said. “With this system installed, pharmacists and patients can feel confident that their conversations come through with utmost clarity, thereby aiding in communications that may help save lives,” Sieber said. dsn


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Pharmacy Technicians are the Heart of the Pharmacy Expanded roles for certified pharmacy technicians help advance patient care By William Schimmel

A William Schimmel, executive director and CEO, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

s pharmacy technicians increasingly assume expanded roles during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of what we already knew: Certified pharmacy technicians are critical to the delivery of patient care in normal times and even more so during a crisis when the nation’s healthcare system is stretched and stressed. Many pharmacists, speaking about experienced technicians, tell me they are the heart of the pharmacy and that their importance continues to grow. Pharmacies that hire, train and promote pharmacy technicians are creating a win-win-win scenario. First, the technician receives training and recognition, while also realizing she has found a career, not just a job. Second, the employer has invested in the pharmacy team, resulting in a higher level of patient service and a pharmacy team with reduced turnover. Finally, and most importantly, this team will deliver better patient care.

Despite dealing with aching backs from hunching over a counter, empty stomachs, exhaustion due to longer shifts and nervous patients waiting in long drive-thru lines, technicians repeatedly say they feel proud of their essential work, knowing they are making a difference. Browsing through the stories found at ptcb.org/ CPhTstrong, we find multiple accounts of the devotion that certified pharmacy technicians have shown toward their patients. Many are at high risk since they are exposed to patients who are ill or looking for over-the-counter treatment suggestions before contacting their provider. Despite dealing with aching backs from hunching over a counter, empty stomachs, exhaustion due to longer shifts, and nervous patients waiting in long drive-thru lines, technicians repeatedly say they feel proud of their essential work, knowing they are making a difference. Opportunities for technicians to contribute to the


pharmacy team are growing. For more than two decades, pharmacists and technicians have shown they can work together to increase the vaccination rate of the U.S. population. Technicians already are playing important roles that facilitate pharmacybased immunizations, such as prescreening patients, verifying vaccination histories, managing inventory, entering data, and handling billing. With a COVID19 vaccine expected as early as the end of this year, pharmacy teams will be needed more than ever. Pharmacy technicians currently are authorized to immunize in several states, including Idaho, Rhode Island and Utah, and other states are considering regulatory and policy changes to allow immunizing by technicians. Last year, PTCB launched new specialty Assessment-Based Certificate Programs in Technician Product Verification, or TPV, and Medication History. We plan to launch our next certificate programs in Billing and Reimbursement and Hazardous Drug Management this summer, followed by Controlled Substances Diversion Prevention and Immunization later this year. Active PTCB-certified pharmacy technicians, who have completed at least four certificate programs, including TPV and/or Medication History, or three certificate programs and PTCB’s Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician Certification, and three years of work experience, will be eligible to earn an Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician credential later this year. More than 90% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a pharmacy, so there is an expansive opportunity to broaden the scope of services pharmacists and technicians can provide to patients. For patients dealing with a chronic disease, they might visit their pharmacy more than 24 times a year compared with a few appointments with a medical practice. At PTCB, we are working to make sure more and more of these patients are met by highly trained, experienced and dedicated pharmacy technicians. dsn


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Migraine Management How pharmacists can help patients with migraine monitor and manage the condition By George DeMaagd

O George DeMaagd, associate dean for academic administration and professor of pharmacy practices, Union University College of Pharmacy


ver the last three years, multiple new medications for treating migraine have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The management of migraine is challenging and requires practitioners and pharmacists alike to understand this chronic disease and the role of various pharmacotherapies. Involvement in disease state management, including migraine, can be an important component of retail pharmacy practice, but a challenge in this busy environment. Retail pharmacists often are the first-line option for patients seeking advice regarding their migraines, thus a knowledge of the role of newer pharmacotherapies is essential. Patients presenting with headaches to the pharmacy need to be referred when appropriate, especially if they present with certain red flags, including new onset headache in a middle-aged adult, pediatric patients, neurological symptoms, or what the patient describes as a first and worst headache. Pharmacists can use available and easy-to-use migraine screening tools to assist them in making patient care decisions via headaches.org. They also can recommend appropriate use of OTC medications and educating patients about the risks of medication overuse headaches, or MOH, associated with overuse of acute therapies, especially analgesics. Non-pharmacological interventions and therapies include avoiding triggers, behavioral therapies and neuromodulation devices. Pharmacists can play a role here by recommending all migraine patients keep a diary to track their headache triggers and patterns. The present migraine abortive therapy guidelines recommend OTC analgesics — NSAIDs and triptans — as first-line options based on migraine severity. Opioids and barbiturate combinations should be avoided and have a limited role. Pharmacists should counsel all patients on the appropriate limits for using abortive therapies to avoid MOH. These limits include the use of combination analgesics and triptans 10 or fewer days per month, and simple analgesics for 15 or fewer days per month.

In the last year, two new classes of medications have been approved for the abortive management of migraine, including the ditans and the gepants. The role of these agents in the abortive management of migraine is still evolving. The ditan, Reyvow (lasmiditan), was approved for the abortive therapy of migraine and differs from the triptans in being more receptor selective without vasoconstriction effects. This agent likely will be utilized in patients who have contraindications or have not responded to an adequate trial with a triptan. Important counseling points include no driving or operating machinery eight hours after use, and no more than one dose in a 24-hour period. The gepants, which are antagonists of the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP, receptor, are the other new class of migraine abortives. They include Ubrelvy (ubrogepant) and Nurtec ODT (timegepant), both of which are approved for the abortive management of migraine likely in a similar role as described with lasmiditan. A key counseling and monitoring component with these agents is their extensive cytochrome P450 and other drug-related interactions, which require pharmacist evaluation to avoid significant drug interactions. There are four new preventative migraine monoclonal antibody therapies approved in the last three years, including Aimovig (erenumab), a CGRP receptor antagonist, as well as Ajovy (fremanezumab), Emgality (galcanezumab) and Vyepti (eptinezumab), all of which bind to the CGRP ligand itself as antagonists. Pharmacists can become discuss the appropriate role of these agents, their potential side effects and proper administration while monitoring effectiveness and partnering with patients and providers to assist in dose adjusting or eliminating other migraine therapies. Pharmacists also can assist patients and providers, while working with payers, to obtain coverage for appropriate patients. Pharmacists can play a significant role in the management of migraine patients by assisting in appropriate use and monitoring of existing and new pharmacotherapies. dsn


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GSK Ships Record Number of Flu Vaccines GlaxoSmithKline has begun shipping its quadrivalent influenza vaccines to U.S. healthcare providers and pharmacies for the 2020-2021 flu season. The shipment followed a licensing and lot-release approval from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. The company said it is producing the largest supply ever as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges adults and high-risk individuals to be immunized against influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, GSK said it expects to supply more than 50 million doses of its influenza vaccines for the 2020-2021 season — up from the 46 million it distributed during the last flu season. The record numbers also put the company on track to cross the 1 billion lifetime doses milestone for its global business. “The flu is a serious and unpredictable disease that causes tens of millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year,”

said Judy Stewart, GSK senior vice president of U.S. vaccines. “GSK is looking at every opportunity to produce and distribute additional flu vaccines this upcoming season to meet anticipated demand. We are working closely with public health partners to improve flu immunization rates to reduce the spread of disease and burden on the healthcare system during the ongoing public health challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months old and older get a flu vaccine every season. In recent weeks, the CDC repeatedly has emphasized the importance of influenza vaccination this flu season to help reduce the burden of disease and the impact of influenza on the healthcare system and other critical infrastructures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Flulaval Quadrivalent and Fluarix Quadrivalent, indicated for patients aged 6 months old and older in line with CDC recommendations, will be available in a 0.5 ml single-dose, prefilled syringe.




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Pfizer Inks $2B deal with HHS for 100M COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Pfizer has signed a deal with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense for large-scale production and nationwide delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, following the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval. The agreement also allows the U.S. government to acquire an additional 500 million doses. The federal government will pay Pfizer $1.95 billion to own the first 100 million doses of vaccine initially produced. Pfizer will deliver the doses if its vaccine receives Emergency Use Authorization or licensure from the Food and Drug Administration after completing the demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial. Pfizer said that the preemptive agreement means that it can ship a vaccine quickly if it received the FDA’s blessing for emergency use or full approval. This approach helps meet the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed

goal to begin delivering 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine to the American people by the end of the year. “Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.” Pending approval, Pfizer would begin nationwide delivery of the vaccine doses to locations in the U.S. government’s direction, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2020. The vaccine would be available to the American people at no cost. As is customary with government-purchased vaccines, healthcare professionals could charge insurers for the cost of administering the vaccine. Pfizer is collaborating with BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, to develop COVID-19 investigational vaccines without U.S. government financial support. Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials are underway for the investigational vaccines in the United States and Germany.

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Ready for Anything Portability, packaging and preparedness shopping are driving first aid growth By David Salazar


ot surprisingly, it appears as if the first aid category is ahead of the curve — and a bit of a lifesaver for consumers during the COVID19 pandemic. Historically dependent on preparedness shopping, the category is perfectly suited to thrive during the crisis, as consumers have become more mindful of what they need to stock up on in order to minimize trips to the store. Suppliers and retailers in the space said that helping consumers be prepared for


anything plays a large part in their efforts, in terms of both assortment and education. At the same time, preparedness has not hampered innovation nor efforts on the part of retailers to play up their store brands in the space. Additionally, players in the first aid category are looking for better ways to meet consumer needs by stocking better-tailored first aid kits at a time when the segment is seeing strong sales growth.

Innovation in Focus One of the companies making the biggest

splash in first aid is Welly, which sits at the intersection of preparedness and innovation. Founded by Eric Ryan, the person behind vitamin brand Olly and household cleaning brand Method — two brands that shook up their respective categories when they launched — Welly debuted last year as a Target exclusive. The goal was to bring to the category a new aesthetic — brightly colored, patterned fabric bandages packaged in tins — and mindset, namely that preparedness can look good and that bandages can be worn as a badge of honor.


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“Welly’s launch was all about really looking at where a category had missed really responding to who the customer is and what their lifestyle is, finding a place to bring lifestyle and personality into a more of a needbased category,” said Laura Conlon, Welly’s vice president of marketing. “And first aid couldn’t have been more bland. [It] was missing the element of true portability and true expression and fashion in the space.” When it debuted, Welly had endcaps featuring its flagship Bravery Bandages — flex-fabric bandages packaged in tins, sorted by size and featuring see-through plastic to easily identify which bandage a consumer was about to use. The sides of the tins also outline each bandage and how many are inside. “We decided to bring really bright, bold, colorful bandages that were also all flex fabric or more performance-based into this space,” Conlon said. “We found that people are really buying Welly to be prepared, to put it in their car for if they need it or when they need it. Seeing that we could shift the mindset to be prepared and being ready, I’ve found that people find that really comforting, particularly now in COVID times when there’s a lot of unknowns, so you really want to feel like you’ve got your bases covered.” Innovation is not just reserved for suppliers, though. Indeed, the first aid tape/ bandage/gauze/cotton segment is dominated by private label, based on IRI data for the year ended July 12 in U.S. multi-outlets. Recognizing the potential, CVS Pharmacy also has been bolstering the positioning of its private-label offerings in first aid by bringing innovation to the space alongside national brands and category mainstays. “At CVS Pharmacy, we are proud to lead with innovation from our store-brand products within the first aid category, while ensuring we also have the extensive national brand options for our customers — ensuring we always are staying on trend and identifying unique marketplace opportunities,” said Brenda Lord, CVS Health vice president of store brands and quality assurance. “First aid and wound


care is a category we’ve been innovating in for years, from launching unique Manuka Honey Bandages to diversifying our first aid kits to suit a variety of needs that are not one-size-fits-all.” The retailer’s CVS Health store-brand Manuka Honey Bandages are sold in two iterations — adhesive strips and spot bandages, both of which are waterproof and infused with medical-grade honey meant to help maintain a moist environment for optimal wound healing. At Randob Labs, innovation has taken the form of new packaging and innovative delivery methods for its flagship Sting-Kill product. For Sting-Kill, Randob Labs president Jim Creagan said the company worked with the Emerson Group to create packaging with clear benefits messaging. Creagan credited the messaging as playing a role in the product getting chain-wide distribution at CVS Pharmacy. The packaging was featured on the company’s signature Sting-Kill swabs and its newer Sting-Kill wipes, which offer a convenience-minded approach to neutralizing the pain associated with bee

and wasp stings. “Sting-Kill swabs and wipes are singleuse, convenient and unique delivery forms, but more importantly are extremely easy to use,” Creagan said. “This is especially important when a sting first occurs so as to administer immediate relief. Both StingKill swabs and wipes portability lends it to easily fit into a backpack, car glove compartment or medicine cabinet.” Randob also is highlighting its Chiggerex as a product that is essential for consumers in the 19 states where chiggers are highly concentrated, or the 12 states where they can be a nuisance. Having revived the once-defunct brand after acquiring it, Creagan said that it still sells well among those who need it. “Retailers in these affected areas should stock Chiggerex because it continues to be the No. 1 selling brand for the treatment of chigger bites and has a large, loyal following because its unique formula works so well,” he said. “In fact, during its short disappearance from the market until Randob Labs acquired the brand, consumers were


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searching where to find Chiggerex and some were paying near $50 a bottle on eBay.”

The Whole Kit and Caboodle As the COVID-19 pandemic has worn on, it is having an impact on what shoppers buy, particularly when it comes to stocking up for any eventuality to avoid an unnecessary and potentially risky trip to the store. The result is a renaissance of sorts for the humble first aid kit, as well as a makeover in Welly’s case. IRI data shows that first aid kit sales — led by Johnson & Johnson and private label in the No. 1 and No. 2 manufacturer spots — increased 12.2% for the year ended July 12. The growth in the first aid kit segment far outpaces the meager 2.1% growth that first aid accessories saw overall in the same period, and even the solid 4.9% growth that tapes, bandages, gauze and cotton realized. In addition to its host of pre-made first aid kits, J&J’s Band-Aid brand this year is undertaking a promotion in partnership with Target to allow consumers to take an individualized approach to kit building. The brand’s buildable first aid kit offers a trendy first aid bag with the purchase of


qualifying essentials from Band-Aid and J&J’s Benadryl, Motrin, Neosporin and Neutrogena brands. Begun in March, the promotion runs through Oct. 10. CVS Health undertook a similar promotion this summer with its Build Your Own First Aid Kit program, which offered a free first aid kit with the purchase of three of the retailer’s private-label first aid items. Among the eligible assortment were bandages and antibiotic ointments, as well as cloth tape and gauze rolls. “Customization is key, and we want to allow our customers to have access to the products they need, when they need it,” Lord said. In addition, she said CVS Pharmacy has been focused on better tailoring its first aid kit offerings to consumers’ needs, noting that the company has launched two major product lines in the past two years.

The first line, the company’s wound care-focused kits, launched in 2019 following in-home research with customers to understand their needs with regard to major wounds and post-operative healing. The five kits in the line include woundcare education about applying items found inside a trial kit, as well as a coupon for a discount on full-size products. In May, CVS Pharmacy followed up the wound care launch with a line focused on various consumer lifestyles. “First aid kits are an important part of our business to give consumers everything they need,” Lord said. “With both lines we aimed to help the consumer avoid the trial and error that can come with treating an injury, and make it simple for them to get the products they need in a convenient product format.” dsn


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A New Man Men’s grooming products see growth, and not just because barbershops were closed By By Nora Caley


OVID-19 pandemic be damned. Men, just like women, still want to look good during a crisis. The question is whether they are buying grooming products in stores or online now. Even as many men grew elaborate beards, let their hair grow long or allowed their skin to crack, a large portion of male consumers used the lockdown time to experiment with new looks and try some different products. Some had to look professional for Zoom meetings, while others simply got bored and started searching online, finding themselves watching instructional videos on how to update their quarantined lumbersexual style. Yet, the pandemic definitely has played a role in where male shoppers go for these items. Retailers, many said, will have to work hard to get consumers to come back to their stores as the pandemic subsides. That holds true for the men’s grooming category, as well. There are some good signs for retailers, though. Some said that the men’s grooming category at retail thrived when barbershops and hair salons closed temporarily, and the category is still gaining sales momentum. “The biggest trend right now is a leap in household penetration of our categories, up 20% in some cases,” said Steven Yde, vice president of marketing of North American consumer division at Wahl Clipper. “The shutdowns grew beards, and people had to learn to either grow their hair out or try to cut it themselves at home.”


Sterling, Ill.-based Wahl makes haircutting, trimming, shaving, and beard and hair care products, as well as pet grooming products and massagers. Demand for the products is currently up by double digits, Yde said, and early in the pandemic, demand was up in triple digits. The company has an instructional haircutting at-home page on its website, which saw a 300% increase in traffic in late March near the start of the pandemic. According to Wahl, people were cutting their own hair, as well as the hair of their family members, partly

out of necessity, but also because the task was empowering, as learning a new skill can make a person feel like they have some control. Watching how-to videos online is nothing new, but COVID-19 transformed certain tasks into do-it-yourself projects. “Millions of men who have been unable to get their hair cut or styled these past few months have opted to cut it themselves, or have a household member do it for them,” said Dennis Fisher, founder and CEO of Bee Bald. “What that has meant is very, very short hair or a shaved head, both of


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which have been terrific for Bee Bald.” Beachwood, Ohio-based Bee Bald makes shave creams, moisturizers, skin care kits and other products for the head and face. Fisher said the brand answers several consumer demands. “Innovation is always the key,” he said. “Unique, quirkier brands with quality, eye-catching products and competitive prices are creating incremental growth for the retailers that aren’t afraid of taking a few risks.” Yet, online shopping is making a difference, both in educating men about products and giving them more convenience. For example, during the first three months of the pandemic, sales of American Provenance products shifted from about 50/50 e-commerce and/ or brick-and-mortar to 90% e-commerce, said founder Kyle LaFond. Meanwhile, the amount of time people spend in the store is down by two-thirds. “If they were in the store for 45 minutes prior to COVID-19, now they are in for 15 minutes,” LaFond said. “Now, they’re just picking up essentials and not doing any browsing.” Blue Mounds, Wis.-based American Provenance, which makes natural deodorants, beard balm and hair pomade, recently launched the AP Botanicals line of skin care products. On the bright side, LaFond said, consumers are buying online from the stores’ websites, where savvy retailers have an opportunity to


reach out to these shoppers. Some already are engaging with them through social media, such as Facebook Live events and Instagram stories. “A lot of retailers are becoming more active with their own social media sites,” he said. “I’ve seen retailers hire digital media managers to have someone on staff be the point person for digital media.” Another pandemic-related trend that is likely boosting the category is that consumers are not spending money on vacations, movies or, for the most part, dining out. Instead, they spent money on personal care. The larger trend driving sales is consumers’ changing attitude about personal care items. “I think men are more receptive to hearing about and learning about grooming products than ever before,” LaFond said. “If you look at our online traffic, the comments and questions are coming from a broad swath of folks, not just hipsters and avant-garde, but men at the middle or end of their professional careers.” While all ages are buying the products, younger consumers are digital natives who can generate excitement for new products. “Millennials and Generation Z care about their appearance more than their predecessors because they are so active on social media and are recording videos and taking pictures daily,” said Osmani Mithavayani, co-founder of Okay Pure Naturals in Miami Gardens, Fla. “In the Instagram, Tinder, YouTube,

Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook influencerdriven world, appearance matters.” As with many other categories, shoppers are looking at what’s in the products. They want natural, organic, healthy ingredients that are ethically sourced and that do not harm animals or the environment. Okay Pure Naturals’ men’s personal care line includes All Natural Face & Body Wash, All Natural Face Hand Body Lotion and All Natural Hair & Beard Shampoo, as well as Hair & Beard Pomade and Hair & Beard Gel made with natural ingredients. “Men today want products that are specifically created for them and their grooming needs,” Mithavayani said. “The consumer wants products that are easy to use and give him the results he is looking for.” As men incorporate more skin care into their grooming routines, they have certain expectations from the items they buy. “When it comes to grooming products, men are looking for three things,” said Melissa Zagozan, senior category development manager for wet shave and grooming at Edgewell Personal Care in Shelton, Conn. “They want products made specifically for them and for their skin, they want products that deliver results, and they want to align with brands that resonate with their beliefs and behaviors.” These demands are true for men of varying ages. Younger men are more likely to have tried hair removal products with added skin


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care benefits. Zagozan, citing Mintel’s “US Shaving And Hair Removal Market Report” from April, said that almost half of men under the age of 55 reported having tried products personalized to their hair and skin type. They are not just urban hipsters though — they actually look more like suburban dads. The men’s grooming consumer is primarily 25 years old and older, earns more than $80,000 annually, and tends to be the head of the household for families of six or more. “Among these men, given the global COVID pandemic, we are seeing accelerated trends that were already in motion before the pandemic, such as increased attention to selfcare, a focus on the environment and shifts to online purchasing,” Zagozan said. Whether it is due to quarantining or an extension of other trends, beard care is hotter than ever. Zagozan pointed to research from Spate that found online searches for beard trimmers grew 15% year over year, as did searches for beard clippers (+20.9%), beard shavers (+16.6%) and mustache trimmers (+16.3%). Zagozan said post-COVID, consumers will continue to show significant interest in DIY hair grooming solutions. This demand for grooming products reflects a changing shopper. “Consumers are more educated about products, ingredients and lifestyles,” said Jack Savdie, vice president of New York-based Global Beauty Care. “They’re not using products that they grew up seeing, but what they researched and relate to on more personal levels.” Savdie said that men want to look young, active and professional. They also want to make an effort without looking like they made an effort, and they want brands that have morals and values that align with their own. “They desire confidence and control over life,” he said. “They are willing to spend more on self-care products due to self-care awareness.” The company makes The Nobleman brand cleansing wipes, nose strips, facial cleansers and peel-off masks. The masks reflect the company’s ability to reach men without beards, as this is a target audience that has not gotten as much attention as men seeking beard care products. Even Harry’s, which began as an online subscription service providing razors,


acknowledged that men’s grooming is about more than the beard. “Guys are more interested in grooming and taking care of themselves than ever, and they’re also taking on a more active role in shopping decisions than they have in the past, driving significant growth in the men’s category,” said Michelle McKinney, director of omnichannel marketing and insights at New York City-based Harry’s. “As we’ve built Harry’s, it’s been exciting to see the idea of men’s care become widely accepted.” Over the years, the brand evolved its directto-consumer model, and the products now are available in Target and Walmart, as well as Walmart Canada in early 2020. “Today’s consumer wants to be met where they already are, whether that’s online, in store or via a subscription service,” McKinney said. “As a customercentric brand, we want to be available however and wherever people want to find us.” Harry’s launched products other than shaving items in June 2019, featuring a hair care line consisting of taming cream, texturizing putty, sculpting gel and 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. In February, Harry’s debuted a

body scent, Redwood, available in both bar soap and body wash. Offering a variety of products and brands makes sense in an environment where the shopper is evolving. “Today’s grooming shopper includes a wide range of men with various needs,” said Dawn Hedgepeth, general manager/vice president of deodorants, men’s grooming, hand and body lotion at Unilever in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. “From men who are engaging with grooming in a purely functional way, and buy products made specifically ‘for men,’ to those who are looking for a more elevated experience and are willing to use either male, female or unisex products based on what delivers superior benefits, there is no singular profile of today’s grooming shopper.” Unilever’s portfolio of brands includes AXE, Dove Men+Care, Degree Deodorant and others. Not only are men looking for natural or natural-inspired grooming products, but in traditional categories like deodorant and body wash, the company has seen growth coming from new formats like dry-spray antiperspirants and foaming body washes. “We are also seeing men paying a lot more attention to their hair, whether it’s on their head or on their face,” Hedgepeth said. “Young men especially like to experiment with different looks, which has driven growth in hair styling products and beard care over the past few years.” The effect from COVID-19 went beyond just full-grown beards. “We are also seeing the hand hygiene habits of men become more rigorous, leading to the purchase of more hand soap, hand sanitizers and hand lotion,” Hedgepeth said. The category will continue to evolve in the future. “The men’s grooming category is going to become much less gender-focused as consumers continue to respond more to skincare-first and ingredient-centric approaches, rather than the ‘for men’ marketing that has dominated the category for decades,” said Stan Ades, CEO and co-founder of Pacific Shaving Company. “I also believe that brands’ ethos and integrity will play an increasingly important role in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Future success in this category will require retailers to continue to make these aisles destinations by drawing customers in for new and innovative products.” dsn


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Harry’s Adds Hair Care, Soap Products Once known as a subscription shaver provider, Harry’s has entered the hair care category with four products: Taming Cream, Texturizing Putty, Sculpting Gel and 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner. The 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner delivers cleansing and conditioning in one formula with a refreshing peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender scent, creating a foam without sulfates, parabens or dyes. Sculpting Gel offers sleek, structured style and long-lasting, humidity-defying hold without crunchiness or flakiness. Texturizing Putty is formulated for hold and moldability without shine or stickiness, with a grippy texture and an oil-absorbing finish. Taming Cream balances key conditioners and styling aids like Meadowfoam Seed to provide all-day to tame unruly hair without looking unnatural. Also new from Harry’s is Redwood, a body scent available in both bar soap and body wash.

American Provenance Introduces Skin Care Line American Provenance launched the AP Botanics skin care line. The products, all made with seven ingredients or fewer, are formulated to hydrate and strengthen skin. The company said skin care has become too time consuming, so the goal with starting AP Botanics was to create an effective but effortless skin care line. Each product is named after a national park — Acadia Day Serum, Katmai Night Serum, Rainier Body Oil and Saguaro Fizzing Face Mask are the first products to launch — and they contain such plant-based ingredients as blue tansy essential oil, neroli essential oil, olive-derived squalane and moringa oil. AP Botanics supports the work of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the national parks. American Provenance hand crafts wellness products on a retired Wisconsin dairy farm.

Schick Expands Line Schick, an Edgewell Personal Care brand, is building on its Schick Xtreme3 triple-blade line. This year, Schick launched Schick Xtreme3 Reload and Xtreme3 DuoComfort products nationally. Schick Xtreme3 Reload is a three-blade hybrid disposable razor pack with one handle and five razor cartridges, which the company said offers consumers more value from a disposable razor without sacrificing the shaving experience. Xtreme3 DuoComfort offers dual moisture with aloe and vitamin E for maximum skin comfort. The three flexible blades adapt to contours for closeness, while the heavyweight handle provides shave control.


Bulldog Adds Body Washes and Bar Soaps Bulldog Skincare for Men, also from Edgewell Personal Care, has launched body washes and bar soaps. Bulldog Skincare for Men body washes provide head-to-toe cleansing in 100% postconsumer recycled plastic. All formulas gently cleanse the body, leaving the skin feeling soft, moisturized and comfortable. Bulldog body washes, made with 100% natural fragrances, come in four varieties: original, peppermint and eucalyptus, lemon and bergamot, and vetiver and black pepper. They are cruelty-free certified, under the Leaping Bunny program, and vegan-friendly. Bulldog Skincare for Men bar soaps, formulated for use on the face and body, come in three varieties based on skin type: Original, Sensitive and Oil Control. All are made with 100% natural fragrances, except Sensitive, which is fragrance-free. The bar soaps, which feature packaging certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, also are cruelty-free certified under the Leaping Bunny program and vegan-friendly.


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Creme of Nature Reformulates its Perfect Edges Creme of Nature has updated one of its signature beauty products. The brand’s Argan Oil from Morocco Perfect Edges has been reformulated to provide users with a 24 hour extra firm hold that does not leave behind residue, while continuously controlling flyaways and holding down edges. The product also is available in an extra hold option that provides the same 24 hours of hold, moisture and shine without flaking, the company said. “Creme of Nature is committed to delivering high performing edge control, so women can have the freedom to express their style with confidence all day,” said Teneya Gholston, senior director of marketing at Creme of Nature. “Having a deep understanding of who she is and what she is going through has enabled us to reinvent our iconic Perfect Edges collection to speak directly to her needs, while wearing braids, topknots, or showing off her baby hair. This product is bold, fun and powerful — which is exactly what our consumers want.” Both formulations of Creme of Nature with Argan Oil from Morocco Perfect are available at select Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid, Sally Beauty, Family Dollar and Dollar General locations for the suggested retail price of $2.25.


Hello Products Launches Naturally Friendly Deodorant Line Hello Products is growing its personal care offerings. The brand, which has largely focused on oral care, is introducing its Naturally Friendly deodorants made with gender-neutral formulas that come in 100% previously recycled packaging. Ingredients found in the deodorants include tea tree oil, activated charcoal and shea butter. “Hello’s mission is to make things beautiful and better for everyone. Hello is for the 100%, not for the 1%. By beautiful and better, we mean products that offer awesome performance, that are vegan and cruelty-free, that contain thoughtfully sourced ingredients, and that feature gorgeous design,” said Craig Dubitsky, founder of Hello Products. “When we say we’re for the 100%, it’s because we think everyone should be able to choose friendly when it comes to their daily-use products, and let’s face it, everyone could use a little bit of awesomeness.” Hello Products Naturally Friendly deodorants are available in three formulas — clean + fresh deodorant with activated charcoal, fresh citrus deodorant with shea butter, and fragrance-free deodorant with shea butter. Clinically proven to provide 24-hour odor protection, the deodorants are free of aluminum, baking soda, parabens, talc and dyes. They also glide on easily and are quickly absorbed without causing irritation to sensitive skin, the company said. “We continue to thoughtfully source innovative ingredients and technologies to improve performance and sustainability in new and existing products,” said Lauri Kien Kotcher, CEO of Hello Products. “We’re confident our effective, naturally friendly deodorant formulas will continue our mission to delight our loyal consumers and retail partners.” Retailing for $6.99 each, consumers can find the deodorants on Ulta.com, Amazon.com and Hello-Products.com, as well as at Dollar General.


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Responding to the E-commerce Wake-up Call It’s time for retailers across food and drug to accelerate their capabilities with new investments and initiatives By David Orgel

S 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.


ometimes it takes a crisis to realize you made smart investments ahead of time. The recent saga of Kroger is instructive for all food and drug retailers. The retail giant’s top executive recently reflected on how the company’s pre-pandemic investments in online shopping and related digital initiatives paid off during the COVID-19 crisis. Kroger’s digital sales almost doubled in its first quarter. “We are more convinced than ever that we made the right decision to transform our business model when we did,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s CEO, during the company’s recent annual meeting. He was referring to years of investments in e-commerce operations, including thousands of pickup and delivery locations. Moreover, the giant retailer is moving ahead with the building of automated customer fulfillment centers for e-commerce with its partner, U.K.-based Ocado. “We continue to invest in and constantly improve our e-commerce capabilities,” he said. Kroger’s experience underscores that building e-commerce capabilities is a long-term journey. It doesn’t work as well if you try to do the heavy lifting in the midst of a crisis. The latest data indicates shoppers are sticking with this mode of buying and relying on it even more. Online grocery sales, for example, reached $7.2 billion in June, a 9% increase from May, according to a Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Survey from late June. It’s time for retailers across food and drug to accelerate their e-commerce capabilities with new investments and initiatives. In fact, by increasing capacity, retailers are driving even more consumer usage, according to David Bishop, partner and research lead at Brick Meets Click. How should retailers move forward with investments? Here are a few noteworthy examples of recent retail strategies: • Walgreens has added digital order-ahead drive-thru pickup, while offering new delivery options. It also has made investments in

micro-fulfillment centers and hybrid stores for its Boots.com operation; • Stop & Shop said it would be adding new warerooms and pickup locations, and expanding its relationship with Instacart, in an effort to grow its e-commerce operations; • Albertsons, in a partnership with Takeoff Technologies, is opening micro fulfillment centers that advance capabilities for clickand-collect and delivery services; and • C&S Wholesale Grocers, the nation’s largest wholesale grocery supply company, is partnering with Instacart to enable e-commerce and same-day delivery for some 3,000 independent grocers. The surge in e-commerce activity has led to bold statements about the future of online shopping. “The world as we know it has changed,” said Tim Steiner, CEO and founder of Ocado, in The Daily Mail Online on July 14. “We are confident that accelerated growth in the online channel will continue.” Steiner may be right, but nothing is certain until it happens. There are some caveats for retailers. These include the need for realistic expectations about how quickly their initiatives will be truly profitable, and the importance of extensive testing to make sure systems work as they should. Another imperative is to evaluate and improve e-commerce customer experience because it hasn’t necessarily been that good during the crisis period. The Brick Meets Click/Mercatus research found the likelihood for a shopper to use a specific online grocery service again within the next 30 days is 57%, considerably below pre-pandemic levels. “As grocers adopt or adapt e-commerce offerings to meet shopper demand, it’s imperative that they consider the entire customer journey in order to capture repeat shoppers,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and CEO of Mercatus. Retailers have little choice but to grow online shopping capabilities. They need to react to increased customer demand. And even better than reacting will be to get ahead of future buying behaviors. dsn


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