Seasonal greeting cards and gift wrap will not be the only general merchandise items promoted at supermarkets this holiday season. Personalized giftware, books, cameras, toys and plush animals also will be highly visible.
Such merchandise will be featured at peak front-end areas and high-traffic seasonal sections to boost impulse sales and alert shoppers of their availability.
In addition to offering a wide assortment of holiday bows and wraps, greeting cards, light sets and tissue papers, Copps Corp., Stevens Point, Wis., will promote 18-inch-high stuffed plush animals at $9.99. "We'll offer different plush items from $4.99 to $19.99. This will give shoppers a wide choice of products that will be merchandised at seasonal promotion areas," said Arlen Clark, general merchandise buyer. Pueblo Xtra International, Pompano Beach, Fla., meanwhile, will give toys and housewares more exposure during the Holiday season.
Toys priced from $5 to $25, and glassware sets, dinnerware and cookware sets from $20 to $30 will be displayed in shippers and stands at the front-end area. "We're going to look into personalized gifts for children, such as books, portable radios and point-and-shoot cameras priced from $10 to $20," said Stan Friedman, director, general pharmacy, general merchandise and HBC at Pueblo Xtra. Xtra is anticipating a "pretty good holiday season in spite of the economy. I think people will stretch a little further to forget some of their woes. They use this (time of year) as a pick-me-up for themselves and the people they're getting the gifts for," Friedman said. Cameras, film, batteries and moderately priced toys and plush will be the focal point of holiday promotion activity at Roth IGA Foodliners, Salem, Ore.
According to Steve Hansen, Roth IGA's director of general merchandise, front endcaps will be packed out with holiday toys at low retails. Roth IGA will also cross-promote batteries and film on a 13-inch-high pegboard at eye level.
"The front endcap will have nothing but plush animals and toys," he said.
Hansen added that the chain expects the mix will help attract additional sales. "People will pick up a toy and then a battery that's needed to operate it," said Hansen. Plush products will be priced from $7 to $19.99, and toys, the majority of which will be boxed, will carry $10 to $12 retails.
"The toys will be in about eight different items for girls and boys, from dart sets to dolls," Hansen said, adding that disposable cameras will be tied into the display.
A wide variety of plush animals priced from $4.99 to $19.99; toys, including boxed items, 99 cents to $12.99; and porcelain houses selling at $9.99 and at $14.99 for a lighted version, will top the list of holiday general merchandise at 120 corporate stores and 600 independent retailers at Nash Finch, Minneapolis, Minn. "This year, the assortment was broadened more than ever, by around 25% to 30%, to create a destination for holiday general merchandise," said Tom O'Dell, general merchandise and health and beauty care merchandising manager. The wider variety "offers more choices to let people know we're in the business. Offering only a basic assortment isn't a destination point or enough to compete with a Wal-Mart, Target and the other discounters," he added. The items will get heavy play in ads and store circulars and will be merchandised in seasonal promotion areas. The 41-unit Dixieland Stores, Sykeston, Mo., will promote a wider assortment of plush animals in about 10 different choices, up from about four items last year. "Plush animals are hot," said Vern Spence, nonfood sales manager at Fleming Cos., Geneva, Ala., division. Dixieland's larger stores will cross-merchandise the stuffed animals, which will be priced from $4.99 to $19.99, in produce during the holiday period, Spence said. Other features will include Mattel toys, private-label Marquee batteries, disposable cameras and film, he said.