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Navigating the Complexities of the Drug Class of Trade

Suppliers are feeling heightened pressure as drug retailers look for ways to drive foot traffic, differentiate, and stay relevant with shoppers. The U.S. retail Drug channel continues to face multiple headwinds that are putting pressure on sales and margins. Highly impacted by post-COVID changing consumer habits and preferences, it’s also experiencing economic and inflationary pressures, labor shortages, online pharmacy disruptors, decreasing reimbursement, and most recently, a disappointing cough/cold season. At the same time, retailers are focused on omnichannel health and wellness as they continue to transform their businesses into one-stop healthcare destinations. A highly complex environment, the Drug channel requires suppliers to embrace a radically new mindset and mindful strategies to win.

Navigating the Complexities of the Drug Class of Trade: Challenges & Solutions for Health, Beauty, and Personal Care Brands

In this episode of MPG Path Forward, Bryan speaks with former retail leaders to explore the key trends and challenges currently impacting this channel. Hear why a “rinse and repeat” approach no longer works, and gain their insider insights on what is now needed to drive high brand sales performance in this complex landscape.

  • Bill Bergin, former Group Vice President of Health and Beauty at Rite Aid
  • Luke Rauch, former Walgreens Chief Merchandising Officer
  • Sherry Saffert, former CVS Health, Beauty and Personal Care Merchandise and Category Management leader
  • Jason Henney, MPG EVP, Drug Retail and Drug Wholesale Sales Strategy & Services

Among the topics they discuss:

  • 3:15 - Predominant Trends: What trends most important to Health, Beauty, Personal Care, and OTC brands looking to grow their business in the Drug Channel

  • 10:34 - Through the Lens of the Retailer: Understanding what Drug retail leaders prioritizing, and what they expect from brand partners

  • 14:26 - Category Management Approaches: What’s changed and what’s key now in Category Management as we transition to the “new norm”?

  • 19:19 - Challenges & Untapped Opportunities: How can CPG brands unlock growth in this complex channel?

  • 22:27 - The Power of Loyalty Programs in Drug: What role should they be playing to drive momentum for your business?

  • 25:14 - Post-Pandemic Strategies: Understanding the crucial shifts in planning now needed to succeed in this channel. Understand, is Points of Distribution still “King”? Demographics, data, and your brand story – what’s imperative?

  • 33:53 - Size Matters: Differing roles and retailer expectations for large vs. mid-size businesses

  • 36:49 - Brand Success Requirements: Balancing SKU rationalization with innovation expansion, recapture space for your brand, and so much more

  • 39:48 - The Right Balance Right: Traditional vs. digital in this channel

Whether you're a seasoned brand owner or newly venturing into this space, this episode of MPG Path Forward offers invaluable perspectives that can pivot your strategies for accelerated growth. For more insights on how MPG can help your business win in the Drug channel, connect with Jason Henney at

Check out our MPG Path Forward podcast on YouTube or listen to us on your favorite listening connection, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and many more! Or subscribe to our podcast RSS feed >

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