MAULDIN, S.C. -- Pet supplies are being increased nearly five-fold in expanded pet sections that are gradually being rolled out at Bi-Lo here.
The latest expansion took place last month when the Ahold-owned chain added four additional enlarged pet-supply centers. The centers are about 108 feet, said a trade observer.
There are now a total of five large pet-supply sets in the 259-store chain. The first opened last year and boosted pet supplies from about 100 items to some 600 stockkeeping units, commented the observer. Meanwhile, pet sets have been expanded to 28 feet at three other stores. Executives at Bi-Lo would not comment.
"The larger sets widened the chain's pet-accessories variety to compete more effectively against the large pet stores and Wal-Mart," the observer said.
He added that the expanded sets also offer the retailer a chance to capitalize on a larger assortment of bulk chew bones, a top-selling segment within the pet-care center. Bi-Lo now devotes 20 feet of space to bulk chew bones, compared with 8 feet in other stores.
Pet general merchandise is displayed on a 56-inch-high, low-profile gondola running down the middle of the pet aisle between the cat and dog food gondolas.
To make more room for bulk rawhide, the chain is cross merchandising cat toys and chemicals in a 20-foot cutout on the cat food gondola .
At a unit in Franklin, Tenn., the pet-supply items are pegged and shelved on both sides of a 50-foot-long gondola.
Besides the bulk rawhide, other accessories include 8 feet each of dog toys and chemicals, 4 feet of collars and leashes and 20 feet each of feeding devices, pet taxis and supplies for small animals, birds and fish. Price points range from 69 cents for a chew bone to $60 for a dog house.
Petco Marketing, Griffith, Ind., the retailer's pet-supply resource, ships pet accessories to stores weekly, and a local merchandiser racks and maintains the gondolas. The chain has shifted most of its pet supplies from Sergeants to Hartz.