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Telebrands' supplement a hit.

FAIRFIELD, N.J. -- Telebrands Corp.'s Metabolize and $ave has taken the mass market, and chain drug stores in particular, by storm, according to executives at the supplier.

"We have sold almost 2 million bottles to nearly 2,300 stores in less than three months," reports Nancy Miller, Telebrands' vice president of sales.

Rick Beeson, the as seen on TV" buyer at Happy Harry's Inc., says, "The only thing we really have right now that's doing much for us is from Telebrands. Metabolize and $ave is the only item that we're getting much buzz on."

Telebrands and Emson, a division of E. Mishan & Sons, are the Newark, Del.-based drug chain's primary "as seen on TV" suppliers, he notes.

Gregg Heller, general merchandise and personal care buyer at May's Drug Stores, reports similar success with Metabolize and $ave. "The product is doing tremendous business" at the Tulsa, Okla.-based chain, he comments.

Another chain drug category manager adds, "Whoever developed this product really had his or her thinking cap on. Here you have an item in a category that's already hot -- namely herbals. And you bring out this product at a terrific price point, and you build pent-up demand for it by restricting purchases to mail-order by people who see the television commercial. So then it comes out in drug stores, where Metabolize and $ave meshes perfectly with the health care orientation. It's hard to think of a bigger win-win scenario."

Metabolize and $ave is an alternative to Metabolife International Inc.'s Metabolife 356, which is an herbal dietary supplement that has sold millions of bottles through kiosks at malls nationwide.

"Metabolife 356 is obviously a great success story, approaching $1 billion in sales," says Miller. "The only problem we see with the product is its price."

At the beginning of 1999 Telebrands began looking for a reasonably priced alternative to Metabolife 356. Duplicating the formula, which includes 12 mg. of Ma Huang (a Chinese herb that has been used for 5,000 years) as well as 40 mg. of naturally occurring caffeine, Telebrands introduced Metabolize and $ave at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference in June. "The reaction was phenomenal," Miller notes.

Metabolize and $ave began shipping in September 1999 and is already carried by most leading chain drug stores and other mass market outlets.

While Metabolife 356 carries a suggested retail price of $49.95 per bottle, a comparable 90-caplet bottle of Metabolize and $ave retails for $19.95. (To make the product even more attractive, Rite Aid Corp. last month promoted it in its circular at $17.99.)

Telebrands is currently spending more than $1 million a month on television and print advertising on Metabolize and $ave, and it plans to continue that aggressive campaign through 2000.

"Consumers are not used to seeing this type of item in a mass market store," comments Miller. "Thus retailers quickly must let their customers know the product is available in their stores, and the return will be well worth it."

She adds that header cards seem to work well in selling the product, as they fully explain the "savings story" to consumers.

Metabolize and $ave is generally being marketed by retailers in the diet aids section, with a smaller number of retailers placing the item in the "as seen on TV" department.

On the heels of that launch Telebrands is poised to introduce a 270-count bottle at the beginning of 2000. The three-month supply of Metabolize and $ave will retail for approximately $50.

"Both retailers and consumers will be pleased to note that this is virtually the same price as a one-month supply of Metabolife 356," remarks Miller, "a savings of almost $100 every three months. Retail doesn't see these types of savings very often."
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Title Annotation:Metabolize and $ave
Comment:Telebrands' supplement a hit.(Metabolize and $ave)
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 17, 2000
Previous Article:'As seen on TV' category strong at drug chains.
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