NORFOLK, Va. -- Camellia Food Stores here plans to increase nonfood to about 6% of total store sales over the next year through replanograms, increased advertising and new j-hook and power panel programs.
The company's 22 Be-Lo stores and 19 units trading under the Meatland and Food City banners are poised "to battle for growth," said David Scully, director of operations and merchandising. Nonfood currently accounts for less than 5% of total store sales.
One of the ways it is strengthening nonfood is by resetting general merchandise and health and beauty care sections with an additional 1,000 stockkeeping units.
Under the replanogram, slower-moving items have been dropped, while shelf space has been tightened for additional tiers to display the new products in the nonfood mix. The majority of new items are faster-turning nonfood products, he said.
"We worked on the principal that 20% of the mix represents 80% of sales," he said.
The goal of the program was to develop a stronger nonfood image. Building nonfood is crucial, especially in light of new players, such as Hannaford Bros., Scarborough, Maine, and Harris Teeter, Charlotte, N.C., entering the market, said Scully. In the quest for nonfood growth, Camellia also faces off against "larger supermarket operators like Farm Fresh and Super Fresh, which have more space to devote to nonfood," added Scully. Up until a year ago, the company operated a nonfood and grocery warehouse. It now is being supplied with nonfood from Millbrook Distribution Services, Harrison, Ark., in a drop-ship program. Camellia, with stores in the 9,700-square-foot to 32,000-square-foot range, began remerchandising nonfood last summer, with Millbrook drop-shipping nonfood to scanner stores, and prepricing products for stores that do not have scanners.
Meanwhile, plans also call for tripling nonfood ad items, launching a new power panel program and kicking off a new controlled label program in HBC. Camellia will devote a quarter page of ad space to nonfood specials in its weekly circulars, with emphasis on the new items, said Scully. Nonfood previously was given only several lines.
Camellia's new J-hook program features double the number of gadgets, hardware and related household implements in 150 to 250 SKUs, depending on the store size. The power panel program will be rolled out to about 20 additional stores next month. It follows a two-store test in January and February, which showed encouraging results, said Scully. "We were moving a lot of high-impulse items off the panels, such as Rubbermaid gloves and work gloves set in the cleaning aisle, potpourri by air fresheners, and gadgets in the baking aisle," Scully said. In a bid to widen variety and offer value-added choices in HBC, Camellia now offers 100 Value Star HBC items, the controlled label of Millbrook, which the retailer hopes to eventually double during this year. "Value Star is a price item that is doing well," said Scully, adding that the former Camellia warehouse didn't carry a controlled label HBC. According to Judy Lane, a Camellia nonfood buyer, the company is working with Millbrook to develop competitive pricing in nonfood, such as advertised specials. Lane is also working with the service merchandiser and major HBC manufacturers like "P&G, Colgate, Lever Bros., and Helene Curtis to develop continuous promotions in items that we advertise."