COSMETICS BATTLEGROUND

Cosmetics are a key battleground between supermarkets and drug stores as they fight for health and beauty care market share, according to a merchandising service executive."As a result of the channel blurring between classes of trade, cosmetics is one of those categories where supermarkets can effectively reach out and counter some of their losses from both the drug and mass merchandiser channels,"

Cosmetics are a key battleground between supermarkets and drug stores as they fight for health and beauty care market share, according to a merchandising service executive.

"As a result of the channel blurring between classes of trade, cosmetics is one of those categories where supermarkets can effectively reach out and counter some of their losses from both the drug and mass merchandiser channels," said Charlie Fanning, vice president of sales and operations, Northeast Support Services, Reading, Mass., a partner company of the Alliance Marketing Group, Memphis, Tenn. Northeast Support Services has worked with Stop & Shop, Hannaford Bros., Pathmark and Shaw's on various in-store programs, he said.

Supermarkets traditionally have been the source of groceries, while drug stores have typically been the consumers' choice for cosmetics needs, Fanning said. Now, drug stores offer many convenience food items, and "the supermarket industry has expanded their category reach and now looks to aggressively compete against the drug class of trade. The cosmetics category is clearly a category that supermarkets have targeted to attract customers back to their stores," he said.

"Supermarkets are starting to redesign their cosmetic sections to be as attractive as drug chains and are using much more high-end fixturing toward that end," Fanning said.

The potential for taking advantage of the cosmetics category is still limited to larger chains with larger stores for the most part, he said."It is still basically a convenience category. However, the larger supermarket chains are marketing this category more aggressively and have the means to make it a destination category," Fanning said