Inside This Issue - News
NACDS Marketplace a hit for buyers, sellers
July 18th, 2011
BOSTON – Nearly 700 buyers and category managers from about 200 retail chains scoured the aisles of the Boston Convention Center to check out the latest items on display at the annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores Marketplace Conference.
The four-day event — the association’s 25th Marketplace — was also attended by 450 of mass market retailing’s most important supplier companies. NACDS estimated that the retailers and suppliers at this year’s conference represented more than $500 billion in annual buying power.
Organizers noted that attendees hit the ground running at the event, held late last month. “There was a high energy level at the conference,” said Jim Whitman, NACDS senior vice president of member programs and services. “Everyone came prepared to do business. As soon as they got there, they were ready to go to work.”
The suppliers and manufacturers at the conference conducted around 7,000 prescheduled meetings with category managers during the Marketplace event’s “Meet the Market” program. This program, Whitman said, remains one of the most popular parts of the conference and attracts more interest from both sides every year.
“It’s a concept that we have always tried to make better,” he said. “It’s an evolving program, and we are trying to make sure that it meets the needs of the participating companies.”
In the conference’s business sessions, attendees had the opportunity to hear about the impact that television has on retail sales from real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran, one of the investors on the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” and from Kantar Retail chief knowledge officer Brian Gildenberg on what will be required for retailers and manufacturers to grow sales in today’s economic environment.
In addition, NACDS and the Grocery Manufacturers Association hosted a seminar with representatives of General Mills Inc., Hershey Co., Kraft Foods Inc., Navarro Discount Pharmacy, Rite Aid Corp. and Unilever to examine the expanding role that food is playing in drug stores’ merchandising efforts.
Meanwhile, many of the suppliers at this year’s conference packed the “Meet the Retailer/How to Do Business With …” sessions to hear from representatives of several buying groups, drug chains, dollar stores, supermarket companies and discount chains about what they are looking for when they consider adding products to their mix.
Some show attendees said they found that the combination of the Meet the Market and Meet the Retailer sessions and what they perceived as a more hospitable show floor made this year’s Marketplace one of the most productive in a long time.
“I’ve renewed some of our old relationships, and everyone seems pretty upbeat,” Hi-School Pharmacy chief operating officer Jack Holt said at the show. “It’s a little smaller than normal. But the vendors are not unhappy with that, and the fact is that they’re seeing more of us and spending more quality time with us.”
In some instances, suppliers noted that retailers returned the favor, spending much longer than expected discussing their offerings.
“A lot of the people who have been in our booth have stayed for 30 or 40 minutes,” noted Mark Feldstein, whose company, Mark Feldstein and Associates Inc., develops unique gifts and novelty items. “They are very interested in what we are doing.”