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Future is bright for foot care as boomers begin turning 50.

NEW YORK - Foot care products are usually purchased by older people, and with the first baby boomers turning 50 this year, both retailers and suppliers are confident that sales in the category will surge in the near future.

Although dollar volume in the segment declined a bit last year, down 2.2%, industry observers feel that when sales rebound, chain drag stores will be the major beneficiaries.

"We believe that drug chains are the natural places for consumers to shop for foot care products," says a spokesman for American Drug Stores. "Most people don't think twice about where to go when they need foot care products - they go directly to a drug store."

It is imperative that drug chains stock the leading brands, notes Steve LaMonte, vice president of foot care at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products Inc., and eliminate products with identical benefits. He also says that applying category management techniques vigorously pays off.

Schering-Plough's Dr. Scholl's line continues to dominate the foot care device category, with the top six brands in terms of dollar sales. In the past year the company has enhanced its offerings with such items as gel insoles, Air-Pillo premium leather insoles for men, advanced pain relief callus removers and a gold-plated toenail scissor.

Although the Dr. Scholl's name has become virtually synonymous with foot care, other companies are slowly but surely making inroads. "It's all about having a choice," says Howard Smith, president of Dr. Fabricant's Foot Health Products Inc. "Customers want it, and retailers seem more than ready to respond."

Since acquiring the Dr. Fabricant's line last year Smith has redesigned product packaging to make it easier for customers to find the items they need. Such products as Corn Master pads, Callus Control pads, Fung-O-Mist fungicidal deodorant spray and Wart-Ease liquid medication offer relief for specific problems.
Best-selling foot care devices(*)


                                     Market     Dollar sales
Brand            Manufacturer         share       (add 000)

Dr. Scholl's     Schering-Plough      41.7%       $102,345
Air-PIllo        Schering-Plough       8.8%         21,567
Foam Ease        Schering-Plough       8.6%         21,107
Flexo            Schering-Plough       5.2%         12,747
Workday          Schering-Plough       3.2%          7,751
Profoot Care     Profoot Care          2.6%          6,479
Smooth Touch     Schering-Plough       2.6%          6,276
Zino             Schering-Plough       2.3%          5,712
Odor Eaters      Combe                 2.0%          4,910


                                     Market       Unit sales
Brand            Manufacturer         share        (add 000)

Dr. Scholl's     Schering-Plough      33.2%         25,487
Air-Pillo        Schering-Plough      15.6%         11,985
Foam Ease        Schering-Plough      11.3%          8,686
Profoot Care     Profoot Care          2.8%          2,114
Zino             Schering-Plough       2.6%          2,008
Workday          Schering-Plough       2.2%          1,699
Smooth Touch     Schering-Plough       2.2%          1,675
Odor Eaters      Combe                 2.0%          1,557
Flexo            Schering-Plough       1.6%          1,205

* For the 52 weeks through November 3, 1996. Private label products
account for a 5.5% dollar share and a 13.2% unit share.

Source: Information Resources Inc.

The firm also offers a brochure entitled Feet Hurt? Step Into Dr. Fabricant's Office which explains the products, provides money-saving coupons and offers a toll-free telephone number for assistance.

Profoot Care Inc. offers retailers state-of-the-art database marketing. "It's just part of our commitment to category management and to the chains that carry our products" notes vice president of sales and marketing John Vayianos. "It's a strong tool not only for analysis of market potential, but also for promotions."

The company recently launched Apricot & Loofah foot scrub, which is said to be as easy to use and effective as pumice but without the odor. Profoot Care has also introduced ToeBeds, a comfort device for the entire front of the foot that also offers corn and callus protection.

Pedifix Inc. is another supplier striving to enhance its competitive position. "We are one of the three or four small players nipping at the heels of Dr. Scholl's," company president Christopher Case says. "We have products it doesn't have - niche products with higher margins."

The firm has developed Pump-Pals, an insole specially developed for women's fashion shoes, which retails for about $7. "We encourage consumers to trade up to higher-price, high-performance products," notes Case.

E. Fougera & Co. is marketing Tolnaftate, a generic version of Schering-Plough's Tinactin, and Miconazole, a generic equivalent of Johnson & Johnson's Micatin antifungal cream. Kevin Shell, the supplier's senior vice president, suggests that retailers market foot care creams and ointments in different areas of the store to provide more opportunities to sell the high-margin items.

Other companies challenging Schering-Plough's dominance include Implus Corp., which markets branded insole products used in a variety of private label programs, and Freeman Cosmetic Corp., which offers the Barefoot collection. "We believe cosmetic foot care will be a minimum $20 million segment this year alone," says chief executive officer Larry Freeman.
Best-selling foot medications(*)


                                         Market     Dollar sales
Brand                Manufacturer         share       (add 000)

Lotrimin             Schering-Plough      21.1%        $51,392
Tinactin             Schering-Plough      15.0%         36,612
Desenex              Ciba-Geigy           13.6%         33,094
Dr. Scholl's         Schering-Plough      12.4%         30,249
Micatin              Ortho-McNeil          9.8%         23,423
Odor Eaters          Combe                 4.5%         11,018
Johnson's            Combe                 2.5%          6,069
Barefoot Freeman     Cosmetic              2.1%          5,211


                                         Market      Unit sales
Brand                Manufacturer         share       (add 000)

Lotrimin             Schering-Plough      14.5%          7,268
Dr. Scholl's         Schering-Plough      15.1%          7,589
Tinactin             Schering-Plough      12.7%          6,357
Desenex              Ciba-Geigy           12.2%          6,122
Micatin              Ortho-McNeil          8.3%          4,169
Odor Eaters          Combe                 5.2%          2,598
Barefoot             Freeman Cosmetic      4.7%          2,357
Johnson's            Combe                 4.1%          2,073

* For the 52 week through November 3, 1996. Private label products
account for a 9.2% dollar share and an 11% unit share.

Source: Information Resources Inc.
Foot care

                                  1996      1995      1994
Trade class                      share     share     share

Chain drug stores                  35%       35%       35%
Discount stores                    29%       26%       24%
Food/drug combination stores       19%       18%       17%
Deep-discount drug stores           7%        8%        9%
Supermarkets                        6%        9%       10%
Independent drug stores             4%        4%        5%

Source: Racher Press research.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Racher Press, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:Annual O-T-C Drug Report
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Jan 6, 1997
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