Compiled By: Jennifer Childers | Data Analyst

As we move into the coldest months and the height of resets, many are looking to refresh their HBW planograms. Below is a list of commonly asked questions from retailers along with McLane Company’s answers to them. By following our guidance below, a retailer should see a lift in HBW sales in 2023.

What kinds of products are trending in Health, Beauty & Wellness? Upper Respiratory is seeing the largest growth this year. It has taken the lead over Analgesics. Both are trending up double digits in dollars, but for the first time in a long time, Upper Respiratory has taken the lead. As for share of space, Analgesics has the largest share at 20% while Upper Respiratory holds a 17% share.

How do you recommend retailers merchandise these items? These items should lead the planogram (POG) and be positioned in the strike zone area of it. A retailer should consider a Private Label item to pair with the branded item and should place them next to each other.

Are there certain types of products that sell better/well in the winter? Yes, Cough & Cold, Upper Respiratory and Lip Care are all strongest during the winter months.

What’s one HBW product that stands out to you, whether it’s new, performing great, or is just interesting? One product that we are watching is Voltaren. This is a topical analgesic that is unique to other topical pain treatments. Analgesics have seen interesting innovation in the last couple of years with the introduction of Advil Dual Action, Tylenol Powder and Voltaren so we are excited to see how this impacts the category.

How were HBW sales in 2022? Sales were strong with fewer challenges than in 2021. Compared to 2021? In 2021, the average sales per store per week (APSW) were slightly higher but declined 5%. Compared to 2022 we only saw a 0.7% decline. Compared to pre-pandemic? APSW for 2022 was down compared to 2018 but if the category continues to recover as we expect it will, it should be back to pre-pandemic levels by mid 2023.

How has supply chain affected Health, Beauty & Wellness product inventory? In comparison to other categories? Raw material shortages were the most impactful component of the constrained items. Coupled with a hurricane in Puerto Rico, we’ve also seen continued shortages on pain relievers. Additionally, a strong cold and flu season has put pressure on supply for recently recovering Cold/Flu remedies. Most items made recoveries by the end of 2022.

How would you advise c-store retailers to handle supply chain issues?  Retailers can double-face items they are able to get or substitute Private Label items in lieu of the temporarily constrained ones. 

What do you think the future holds in terms of supply chain?  We believe the industry will continue to see increased supply as manufacturers move to increase production and diversify their raw material suppliers. We have seen some improved fill rates during 2022, and there isn’t any reason to believe that trend will change during 2023. 

What is HBW demand in the Convenience channel compared to Grocery or Drug?  It is our understanding from our vendor and broker partners that the Convenience channel is faring better than Grocery but is on par with Drug.

Have you seen Private Label reach HBW? Or is it mainly food items? HBW has a large selection of Private Label. Most of the stable products in an HBW set has a Private Label counterpart. To be successful with Private Label, the pricing strategy needs to be about 20% lower than its branded counterparts. Research has shown that any more or less, the customer will feel price gouged on the branded items or will not have trust in the Private Label ones.