MISSION, Texas -- Better merchandising may help Carl's Grocery expand its nonfood sales by a projected half percent.
The retailer is replacing slower-turning items with faster-turning ones in several targeted nonfood departments. Presently, nonfood sales represent 5% of sales at the four-store retailer. In addition, Carl's shifted to a fully racked general merchandise program supplied by its nonfood wholesaler, Oklahoma City-based Fleming Cos. Store employees still maintain health and beauty care. Racking general merchandise "can benefit from the wholesaler's merchandising expertise and better presentation at store level to help us compete against the discounters," said Jay Madden, vice president. "The new shelf arrangements should also take some of the flatness out of our nonfood sales," he added. Carl's revamped one store in June and plans to reset the remaining units in September. "We needed better stockkeeping units while holding onto variety," Madden said. He admitted that a lot of items have just been occupying shelf space and not turning.
Four-foot to 16-foot kitchen domestics, panty hose, housewares and Rubbermaid sections are being remerchandised with an updated mix. Carl's also is scaling back on some department sizes and expanding others to create space for higher-velocity items. In the 12-foot lighting center, electrical accessory variety was cut back to make room for a larger offering of specialty bulbs, used in new homes and remodels. The retailer is also recasting its pet centers down to 8 feet to 10 feet from 12-foot to 16-foot sections. In the hair care section, shampoos and conditioners are being cut from a 16-foot to a 12-foot area; deodorants are being reduced to 8 feet from 12 feet. First-aid is being expanded from 6 feet to 8 feet because it does well and carries 5% to 10% better margins than the rest of HBC, said Madden. "A good-sized section keeps customers from going to drug stores," he said.