Understanding the consumer and keeping product mix viable – Albertson’s Inc., managing cosmetics – Brief Article – Company Profile
You’ve heard the cliche, “Change is good.” Well, if that’s true, then Luann Clark, Albert son’s category manager for cosmetics, has nothing to worry about. Though she’s been part of the Albertson’s organization for 16 years, she’s been the chain’s cosmetics category manager for only one. “I actually started with Jewel Food Stores. I worked through the stores in all the departments, became store manager and have worked in marketing and merchandising.” After working in the Salt Lake City offices, Clark went back to Chicago with Jewel and then entered the drug division. “It’s been a very diverse and exciting time.” Her marketing experience encompasses more than just cosmetics. She’s worked in both food and the general merchandise categories, she noted.
As a category manager, Clark’s responsibilities entail more than managing the day-to-day operations of the cosmetics category. “Our teams manage the categories on a national level while still understanding the local needs. This also includes understanding the difference between the drug consumer and the food consumer.”
As part of her daily routine, Clark spends time with vendors, collaborating on new products, developing marketing strategies and new ways to reach consumers. They are continually changing to what will be hot and new for the upcoming season.
The good news, according to Clark, is that the cosmetics category is growing at Albertson’s. “We’re on pace,” she said. “We’re keeping up with the trends of the nation.” Clark attributed the company’s success in the category to strong marketing plans, item selection and consistency within the cosmetics department. “We’re very consistent in what we do in cosmetics. We have a very limited number of sets that we actually [use]. We can literally pull up any store and tell you what that store carries and what size set it has. We put a lot of detail and time into [the] cosmetics [category] and what we are carrying.”
As a category manager, Clark maintains the basic layout of the cosmetics department and promotional cosmetics. For stores in Albertson’s drug division, cosmetics displays vary in length. “It’s based on the footage of the store,” she explained. “We are challenged with choosing the right item selection for the store display. We periodically review planograms and make the appropriate changes.”
This year, Clark said Albertson’s is putting more attention on its effort to reach the teen consumer. “We’re going to expand our teen section and increase our teen on-counter programs,” Clark described these items as “fun cosmetics.” Albertson’s on-counter program is a display area directly across from its cosmetics wall, which houses promotional items. “These items range from the “fun cosmetics” for teens to items for mature women, and everything in between.”
Representing all vendors
Albertson’s SKU-intense cosmetics section holds all major manufacturers, including Procter & Gamble, Maybelline, Revlon and L’Oreal.
As for it’s own private label cosmetics line, Clark says that’s something Albertson’s may consider in the near future. Among the new and exciting items in cosmetics, Clark pointed to glue-on nails and other types of fun artificial nails. “Our customers are looking for quick solutions in nail care and artificial nails are an option,” she said. “In this fast paced society, women want products that are easy, trendy and make them feel good.”
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