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Yardley relaunch a big success.

MEMPHIS - The move to low price points and simple packaging is paying off for Yardley North America. Less than a year after the strategy was implemented executives at the company (a division of Maybelline Inc.) claim that major drug chains are reporting as much as a 40% increase in sales of its bath and body products.

"We listened to the trade, took our products out of the box and lowered the prices by 20%," says vice president and general manager Ed Pierami. "Since we relaunched the line beginning in the fourth quarter of last year the point-of-sale data we have received has been very impressive. We are very, very pleased with the relaunch."

He notes that, while sales in the bath and body category as a whole have slipped, business in the specialty bath segment remains robust. "The category overall has cooled off, but dollar volume in the specialty bath area was up by about 15% and reached $75 million last year," he notes. "The growth has come because people often trade up to premium products in this category, and mass retailers have come to see that they can compete with bath and body specialty shops."

Pierami notes that Yardley's sales have been spurred by increased promotional activity that frequently stresses the role of specialty bath products in skin care. In addition to touting the smooth, healthy skin that results from using such items, the promotions address the price/value relationship of the company's line.

"These are very attractive products for consumers, and they are particularly attractive as gift sets," says Pierami, adding that Yardley is offering four value-added gift sets. "We've focused a great deal of effort on chain drug stores because our products and gift sets are very popular there."

While the supplier serves all mass market trade classes, nearly 60% of its bath care sales are generated at drug chains. Virtually every major drug chain carries some or all of Yardley's line.

Industry leader Walgreen Co. recently agreed to begin stocking Yardley products. And the merger of Thrifty Corp. and PayLess Drug Stores resulted in increased distribution for the company as well. Prior to that deal PayLess carried Yardley products but Thrifty didn't. The decision to use the PayLess bath and body planogram throughout the combined chain added over 500 stores to the supplier's total distribution.

Yardley's offerings are divided into seven segments:

* Skin conditioning bar soap formulated from an all-vegetable base containing vitamins E and [B.sub.5] and allantoin to help skin stay smooth and supple.

* Shower and bath gel enriched with vitamins A, E, and [B.sub.5] as well as aloe vera gel and other botanicals.

* Bubble bath made with a formula that provides long-lasting bubbles as well as the vitamins found in the company's shower and bath gel.

* A body lotion that conditions and treats skin with a nongreasy formula intended for use after a shower or bath, or any time skin needs extra moisture protection.

* Body cream described as a "souffle and cream" that offers dual benefits of deep moisturizing and a light silky feel. It's intended for use at night as an all-over moisturizer or during the day on such rough spots as elbows and knees.

* Body powder that's positioned as the perfect finish to the bath and shower regimen. The absorbent, extra-fine, vitamin-enriched powder includes natural botanicals to leave skin soft and smooth.

* Hydrating hand cream that contains vitamin-enriched emollients, botanicals and aloe vera gel to treat and soothe dry hands. It's formulated to be absorbed into the wearers' skin to protect against dryness and roughness.

The skin conditioning bar soap has a suggested retail price of $2.50, the hydrating hand cream lists for $4, and the remaining items are priced at $6.50 each. The products are available in four different fragrances: peach, rose, essence of spring and raspberry.

In addition to those items, Yardley has reintroduced its baby soap in response to popular demand. It's priced at 99 cents.
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Title Annotation:The 1995 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference; Yardley North America
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Jul 3, 1995
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