Convenience store operators can succeed with the health and beauty aids (HBA) section in 2020 by focusing on retailing basics, advised Steven Montgomery, president of b2b Solutions LLC in Lake Forest, Ill. “This category is not glamourous, but pay some attention to seasonal opportunities like suntan lotion in the summer,” he added.
Wellness is also trending in the category.
“Don’t be surprised if you start seeing more and more companies shifting their focus from health and beauty to health and wellness,” said Eric Patterson, merchandising manager for Beacon & Bridge Market, a family-owned, Flint, Mich.-based c-store chain with 25 locations. He expects CBD-based products, vitamins, supplements and recovery supplements will work their way into health and beauty sections by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, demand for natural, clean and sustainable beauty products is driving sales at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which operates 334 Express c-stores. “This trend is expected to continue in 2020,” noted Marisa Wolfe Conner, public relations specialist II, executive group for AAFES. “Other driving factors include new innovation, competitive pricing and exciting promotional events in the HBA division.”
HBA items with charcoal have proven to be strong sellers, Conner said. The Exchange system also saw a significant growth of premium skincare brands. AAFES expects to see continued growth in the HBA category in e-commerce channels as the shopping pattern is moving more online.
“The Exchange also expects to see an increase in men’s grooming sales, and the continuation of the lashes category that is trending,” Conner said. “Newness continues to drive top-line sales.”
Private-label items are appearing as premium national brand equivalents. “More niche specialty brands are emerging in the market,” Conner said. “The Exchange is adding more of these brands to the assortment to increase bottom-line profits where it has become more difficult to maintain general merchandise with the national brands.”
Shoppers are still embracing natural products, so the Exchange is aggressively adding more clean and natural items to the assortment. “Millennial and Gen Z shoppers have different shopping habits than the traditional customer,” said Conner. “The Exchange is adjusting to the needs and wants of these customers.”