H-E-B Cleans Up with Guys-Only Aisle

Mar 23, 2011
George Anderson

last RetailWire covered
the Men’s Zone in February 2010, we
discovered that a test of the guys-only
grooming product aisle at H-E-B (brought
to the retailer by Procter & Gamble) had grown
total sales for the 534 personal care items located
on its shelves and hooks by 11 percent.

A poll connected with the story found that
33 percent of respondents thought male grooming products had a very big upside
from then current levels. Sixty-four percent rated the upside potential as
moderate (39 percent) to small (25 percent).

Since the H-E-B pilot went so well,
P&G has been taking the concept to
other retailers to test.

“It wasn’t rocket science,’ Thom Lachman, P&G’s
general manager of male grooming, told The Boston Globe. “Men
are buyers and not shoppers. They want to get the shopping done. And it benefits
both men and women. Neither one likes to shop for personal grooming items with
the other one right on top of them.”

H-E-B and retailers including
Duane Reade and Target are hoping the Men’s Zone or similar concepts will help
them grab a bigger share of the male grooming market, which grew 21 percent
between 2005 and 2010.

Duane Reade, according to the Globe article,
has independently of P&G
created its own Men’s Zone and plans to roll out the grooming sections to most
of its 250 stores. There was no mention in the article if parent company Walgreens
planned to run with the concept.

Discussion Questions: How much more or less open do you think men are to purchasing grooming products than they were five or 10 years ago? What do you think of the potential for the Men’s Zone and similar concepts to increase sales of male grooming products?

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9 Comments on "H-E-B Cleans Up with Guys-Only Aisle"

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Dave Wendland
10 years 1 month ago

H-E-B has long been recognized for its market leadership and innovation. The emergence of gender-specific products from leading manufacturers (e.g., P&G, Unilever, etc.) combined with a change in the workforce leading to more men in the aisles will lead to continued growth in this section of the store.

I’m confident this is not a fad nor anomaly–11 percent growth is not something to be overlooked. A recent article I had the privilege to author was entitled, “The Mail is in the Checkout” and addressed this growing market trend.

Ryan Mathews
10 years 1 month ago

Five or ten years? I’m not sure but if we look back a little further, say 20 – 30 years ago, the answer is they are far more willing and have a much wider selection of products to choose from.

Does making shopping “easier” for men mean that sales of male-oriented products should increase? Seems only logical.

Steve Montgomery
10 years 1 month ago

Product grouping by use occasion and or demographics is something retailers have been doing for many years. Grouping men’s grooming products into a single unified section would seem a logical extension of that practice. I certainly agree that men are buyers and not shoppers and anything that makes it easier for men to buy is bound to have a positive impact.

Roger Selbert, Ph.D.
Roger Selbert, Ph.D.
10 years 1 month ago

I can’t believe it has been 20 years since I researched and wrote “The New Guy Next Door” for Combe, Inc., makers of Just-for-Men. Our findings were that men had become, and would continue to become, much more open to improving their appearance — including grooming products — for work life, love life, and personal fulfillment.

I guess it has been proven out, but the current meme about men is that they just won’t grow up. Just Google the blogosphere about it. Guys still need and want to look good, though.

Kevin Graff
10 years 1 month ago

I just have to look in my own bathroom to see how many more ‘guy’ products are now there compared to even 2 years ago (somehow, I think I should be looking younger with all this added ‘help’!).

Men don’t want to buy their underwear, shoes or most anything else in a ‘ladies’ store. Give men their own aisle (read: cave) that’s easy to find and buy from and they’ll flock there.

No big surprises here … after all, go look in most kitchens these days and you’ll see he’s doing the cooking too.

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 1 month ago

Male specific products are on the increase. So why not a male product aisle in the markets where men shop? What a great concept! Men are definitely buyers and not shoppers. This will result in an increase in sales.

Going back to yesterday’s discussion regarding grocery stores as a place for singles to meet: I can’t help but smile as I think of a man looking to meet someone asking her to help him select the product she thinks is better and a conversation ensuing. Ahh, the potential is endless.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
10 years 1 month ago

Men’s grooming products have had strong sales in Asia for a long time. More of those products are making it into the marketplace in the US. Keeping the shopping habits and preferences of US males in mind when designing the shopping space makes a lot of sense. As the age of marriage has increased to 28 for men, there is likely to be a time when they are shopping for themselves–and establishing product preferences. I expect that this section will increase in many stores.

Matthew Keylock
Matthew Keylock
10 years 1 month ago

From a personal perspective, anything that helps me avoid the embarrassment of taking a non-male product to the checkout or home gets my vote! Even the fear of being seen cluelessly looking at the wrong products is enough to put me off. I’m sure I’m not the only one with these pathetic hang-ups….

Jonathan Marek
10 years 1 month ago

What a fantastic test! If analyzed well, there must be a ton to learn about how this impacts not just men’s categories, but also the other moved categories. I also imagine this would work better in some stores versus others, giving an opportunity to target the best stores for implementation.


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