Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare UK Damson Lane Hull HU8 7DS Tel: 01482 326151 Fax: 01482 326151 KEY PERSONNEL Lemsip brand manager Sally Ditcher Sales director, healthcare Steve Troote Regional director healthcare, Europe Peter Fry Key brand Lemsip Opportunities not to be sniffed at More and more retailers are beginning to appreciate why stocking a full range of cold and flu products can provide a warm boost to profits during the cold flu season. And grocery is ideally suited to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the category. Increasingly, multiple and independent grocers are seizing the opportunity to make the most of their shelf space within healthcare, and to tailor their offerings to their customer base as extended opening hours and convenient locations make them the first stop for busy consumers seeking distress purchases. "The compact packaging of healthcare products ensures high profit per square inch, and simple readjustments, such as allocating sufficient shelf space to these relatively small' products, can have a huge impact in profit generation," says Lemsip brand manager at Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Sally Ditcher. Remedy for retailers "Consumers look for brands they know and trust, and will choose a cold and flu remedy based on the brand, not its ingredients or price ­ in fact, they have a poor understanding of product ingredients and how they work." Studies have shown that brand loyalty is so key in this market that more than one in four customers will go elsewhere if their chosen variant from their preferred brand is not available (source: Ipsos RSL March 99). Within grocery outlets that equates to over £9m in lost sales. "So it is vital to offer the consumers the products they demand by stocking a good range of leading variants within key brands," says Ditcher. The pot of gold The grocery cold and flu market is worth a staggering £44m and is currently growing by 17% year on year. With the increasing consumer trend towards self-medication, combined with today's hectic lifestyles, this figure is set to rise (source: Information Resources). Within the cold and flu market Lemsip is the number one brand with a 43% share of value sales, and is growing at 26% year on year, far exceeding the market growth rate (source: Information Resources). "Through the introduction of highly successful products, such as the Max Strength range, Lemsip has played the key role in growing the cold flu category," says Ditcher. Bigger market, healthier profits Ditcher believes there are several key drivers behind the growth of OTC healthcare remedies. Although people suffer from an average two colds every year, people feel there is no time to be ill, and taking time off work to treat a cold is impractical or frowned upon. Well informed consumers who are confident in their ability to select over the counter medicines are driving an underlying trend towards self medication. In recent years there has been a massive increase in sales of higher value branded products, such as Lemsip Max Strength. The cold and flu market growth continues to be fuelled by the power and max' variants, which now comprise almost a quarter of all cold and flu purchases. In the last year, the Lemsip Max Strength range has almost doubled its sales compared with a year ago to more than £8m through grocery alone, says Ditcher. As in all markets, the pace of change is increasing and consumers are seeking continual product innovation. In recent years, Lemsip has fulfilled this by continually introducing innovative products, which fulfil consumers' needs and add incremental growth to the category. Recent additions to the Lemsip range include the highly successful launch of Lemsip Sore Throat Anti-Bacterial Lozenges (which has already outsold many well established brands and is now the fourth best selling sore throat product) and the hugely successful Lemsip Max Strength range. Lemsip's continual investment in product innovation, instore merchandising and consumer communication will ensure that grocers can maximise their profits from the cold and flu fixture, says Ditcher. Some of the benefits that Lemsip has to offer this year include dedicated point of sale and display materials, constantly updated information on the Lemsip range, and its highest ever advertising spend on a consumer TV advertising campaign. For those retailers who can't afford to miss out on high profits during the winter season, the doctor's advice is make sure you stock up early on the cold and flu range that consumers demand. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}