retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that the recession has been good for at least one business over-the-counter sleeping aids, which during March experienced double digit sales increases over the same period a year earlier.

The reason: people worried about their economic situation tend not to sleep as well as in more prosperous times, and turn to various medications to help get shut-eye. Making things worse is that some of the people most worried about their jobs and prospects – people between the ages of 55 and 65 – also tend to be the people most plagued by insomnia.

“Not only does this age group have to deal with the pains of getting old, but they are also most affected by the financial crisis, a huge headache in and of itself,” says a related report released by Packaged Facts, the market research firm.

KC's View:
When the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council did its report on connecting food to health, one of the things that it came up with was an “artifact of the future” that might be given to people picking up a prescription for sleeping pills. This tag would suggest that people having trouble sleeping, in addition to medication, might want to try eating turkey, bananas and wheat bread – all of which contain compounds that encourage sleep.

I thought about this when I read this story, since a national case of insomnia might be the perfect scenario in which retailers could suggest the consumption of such products. It’s just an idea…but retailers looking for an edge have to find and use them whenever possible.

FYI…ABC News reports that the World Health Organization defines a pandemic as meeting three criteria: “First, it must be an infection that has newly emerged. Secondly, it has to be able to cause serious illness in humans. And thirdly, it must be able to spread easily from person to person. Infections in this category can often spread beyond their continents of origin -- and potentially around the world.”

Health experts say that the best way to avoid swine flu is to wash your hands often and well. It also is recommended that people stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing…and postponing planned trips to Mexico also is recommended.