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Retailers are looking at other baby care segments to offset dismal diaper and wipe sales. Not only has the diaper segment been challenged by a dive in the percentage of households purchasing diapers, supermarket retailers are being squeezed by low-priced competition from online retailers and subscription services, as well as from club stores.
“Diaper sales are down in all of my 30 stores,” admits John Trapp, buyer at Gerland’s Food Fair, a chain based in Houston. “The category is a nonissue.” Data from Chicago-based IRI shows that dollar sales of diapers fell 3.8% in the supermarket channel for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 29, while dollar sales of wipes were up 2% in the channel for the same time period.
Other chains are finding ways to layer higher-margin products into the baby care aisle. Vons uses clip strips in its baby care section to display baby bath products with prices points at $3.99 and $6.99. The chain recently ran a promotion that offered $5 off when shoppers spent $40 on baby care products. Wegmans Food Markets merchandises products such as baby booties and pacifier clips from Mud Pie that retail for $5.95 and $6.95, respectively, on clip strips near diapers.
In the baby toiletry section, natural products are showing an increase, while the rest of the category remains flat. Rising instances of allergies and skin sensitivity concerns among children are driving the demand of organic and natural baby care products and leading to increased usage of baby care toiletries, according to information from Chicago-based market research firm Mintel.
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