Grocery retailers plan to enhance their party goods offerings with a high-fashion line from American Greetings, Cleveland, called DesignWare.
The new line, which began shipping this month, will be cut into greeting card planograms and at secondary outposts near bakery, deli, snack and cereals sections, nonfood buyers told SN.
With the DesignWare launch, American Greetings has formed a new business unit that will concentrate on expanded party goods that are more fashion-oriented and feature popular licenses.
The line includes all-occasion, adult birthday and children's party goods. All-occasion partyware, for example, addresses the growing trend of home entertaining with party-good designs in floral and sophisticated graphic patterns that are based on home-decorating trends, including high-fashion to comfortable casual.
At Harps Food Stores, Springdale, Ark., nonfood director Art Bundy believes the new selections will be appropriate for stores serving communities that are more affluent.
"Although I've only briefly seen pictures of the line, we'll probably add it at stores in upper-income sections," said Bundy. "These stores already sell that type of product." Clemens Markets, Kulpsville, Pa., will cut DesignWare products into its partyware mix, particularly since the retailer sees upbeat and fashion party-goods sales growing.
Clemens displays partyware on a four-sided floor fixture in the greeting card department, and also cross merchandises goods in cereal, beverage, chip aisles, and by deli and bakery areas.
"We do really well with partyware, and we're moving more toward fashion-type products and designs that sell well in our affluent areas," said Larry Schimpf, nonfood director. Partyware sales have been blossoming at Clemens, with fashion-oriented selections placed at secondary locations. "This increases exposure and drives impulse movement for topical licenses like Rugrats," Schimpf said.
Besides licenses such as Rugrats and the Berenstein Bears and Care Bears, the DesignWare assortment features innovative themes such as "outrageous fish party" and rock 'n' roll for adult birthdays.
Kids' Collection themes include kittens, ballet and unicorns for girls and sports themes and dinosaurs for boys. Other themes are for baby, bridal, shower and wedding. A specialty collection, which features designs for African American and Hispanic consumers, can be micromarketed to individual store demographics.
"The hot licensed party products that target the children's market, like Rugrats, are what sell," said Bundy.
Larger Harps units can accommodate spinner racks of fashion partyware arranged at bakery/deli areas, added Bundy.
American Greetings' new business unit is "a dramatically expanded party goods product offering with flexible merchandising options for other sections," said Peter Fahrenkopf, American Greetings executive director of sales for party goods.