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HBA posts modest gain.

HBA posts modest gain

Health and beauty aids sales in grocery stores ended the second quarter of 1989 with a dollar sales gain of 7.7%, compared with the same period of 1988. Units increased 5.5%. This is substantial growth, although it didn't match the two prior quarters--10% for the first quarter and 11.5% for the fourth quarter of 1988.

In the trailing 12 months through June 1989, dollar sales increased 9.2%, while units rose 6%.

Some of this growth can be directly attributed to the high volume and wide assortments in combination stores. Direct-buying chain warehouses that service mostly combo stores stock almost 150% more items on average than chain warehouses servicing only traditional supermarkets, according to the Towne-Oller sample. The second quarter of 1989 ended with Towne-Oller tracking 23,596 items in 39,486 food outlets.

Cosmetics led all major categories in dollar sales gains with a 12% increase over last year's second quarter. The cosmetics department tends to have its greatest presence in combo stores. For instance, eye makeup products, the largest cosmetics category in dollar share, ranks 21 in combo store's HBA, but 25 in all grocery stores. Within cosmetics, nail care and face makeup--up 15% and 20% respectively--achieved the greatest growth.

Feminine hygiene sales gained 13% for the second quarter. The growth leader was pregnancy test kits, increasing its dollar share to 3.4% of the total department, up 30% from its previous 2.8% share. Sanitary napkins and menstrual tampons, which accounted for 80.5% of the category's dollars, advanced 8%.

Health and beauty's largest section in dollar volume--medications and health care--increased a relatively modest 7%, to 31.6% of department sales. Many of HBA's top-growth segments have emerged from this category. The most recent, diet meal replacements, rose at a triple-digit rate for the fourth consecutive quarter. It ended the second quarter with a gain of 281% and captured 67.6% of the reducing aids sub-category.

Within vitamins and tonics, fiber supplements increased 102%, its second quarter of triple-digit gains. Antidiarrheals advanced 32%, its ninth quarter of double-digit growth.

Chemical disinfectants for soft contact lens care increased 47% to command 27.2% of the soft lens prep category. This sub-segment was second in dollar share only to saline solutions, which gained 10% and accounted for 32.8% of all soft contact lens preps. Other top gainers in health care/medications were: sinus analgesics, up 32%; wart removers, 24%; headache powders, 17%; and ibuprofens, 22%.

The skin care department, while up only 6% in dollars, contained several growth segments. These included disposable towelettes, up 22% for its fifth quarter of double-digit growth. Disposable towelettes commanded 15% of skin care sales, up from 13.1% a year earlier. Face creams and lotions went up 15%.

Men's toiletries was another lackluster section where some segments showed outstanding achievement. Men's hair color gained 32%. This was coloring's ninth quarter of double-digit gains. Pre-shave preps posted an 18% increase to capture 15.3% of men's toiletries dollar volume. Blades, razors and kits advanced 8%.

Hair care's shining stars are still in the hair styling products group, as fixes/spritzes/sprays led the pack with an 82% gain. Runner-up was the gels segment, up 18%. Styling products jumped 26%, generating 10.2% of hair care's dollars, up from 8.6% a year ago. Deep conditioners advanced 31%, commanding 11% of the conditioners and rinses category. Within shampoos, the silver/grey segment registered the largest increase--18%--while gentle/dry/perm shampoos rose by 14%. Items for thinning hair, the latest introduction in shampoos, have managed to cultivate a 0.5% share of the category in only five months of recorded sales.
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Title Annotation:health and beauty aids sales at supermarkets
Author:Wallace, Mike
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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