The fourth-quarter sell-through spectacular got a unanimous thumbs up from retailers polled by SN. Led by high-profile titles like "The Santa Clause," "Batman Forever," "Casper," "Cinderella" and "Apollo 13," retailers reported solid sales results that in most cases represented an increase over the same period in 1994.
Many of the retailers singled out "The Santa Clause" as the top seller in the holiday period. "We had a fair-to-large increase compared to the fourth quarter of 1994," said Clifford Feiock, video coordinator at Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis. "We had some hits and a few misses, but overall we did very well." "The Santa Clause" was an especially strong performer for Nash Finch.
Some releases from earlier in the year, like "Forrest Gump" and "A Goofy Movie," saw sales resurgences in the fourth quarter, Feiock added.
Many retailers said the success of this past holiday season can be measured by the lack of returns. "Our sell-through went really well in the fourth quarter. We averaged 80% to 90% sell-through," said the general merchandise buyer for a Midwest division of Supervalu, Minneapolis. "We had fewer returns in 1995 than in 1994," said Teri Severinsen, manager of video services at Roundy's, Pewaukee, Wis. "That is an indication that we had a very strong sell-through." Sell-through in the fourth quarter was "a lot better" than in 1994, noted Brenda Vanover, video coordinator at K-VA-T Food Stores, Grundy, Va.
"Sales met our expectations and we didn't have as many to send back," she said. Pricing was competitive with the mass merchandisers and discount drug chains, said Vanover.
"But $9.95 and $14.95 were the best price points," she said. "We drove sales with in-store announcements and radio ads. We used endcap displays inside and outside the video departments." At Southeast Foods, Monroe, La., videos at the $16.95 to $19.95 price points were the most popular, said Denise Darnell, video buyer.
The best-selling titles at Southeast Foods were "The Santa Clause," "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and "Gordy." " 'Gordy' was a big surprise. We sold a tremendous amount of that title and more than we expected," she said. "Gordy" also did well for Johnson Foods, Muskogee, Okla., along with other family-oriented titles, said Anita Reed, video coordinator. "But in terms of volume 'Apollo 13' did the best," she said. Overall, video sales were strong in the fourth quarter, Reed said. "Our fourth-quarter sell-through was better than 1994," said Denise Hasenfus, video manager at Angeli Foods Co., Iron River, Mich. "We probably sold a lot more than even I expected. There were a number of days when our video sales surpassed our video rentals." Previously viewed tape sales were also strong in the fourth quarter, she noted. "We could have done better with sell-through in the fourth quarter, but then I always think that," said a video manager of an Illinois retailer. "Video sales were just a tad weaker than in 1994." Top selling titles for the retailer included "The Lion King," "Batman Forever," "Casper" and "The Santa Clause." "We sold through a whole display of 'The Santa Clause' within a couple of days," said the manager. "Sell-through came closer to meeting our expectations than rentals did," said Tammy DeCloedt, video specialist at Martin's Super Markets, South Bend, Ind. " 'The Santa Clause' was the best-selling title, and after that, 'Cinderella' came close both in terms of volume and profit," she said. "Sell-through in the fourth quarter went really well, as we expected," said Bob Gettner, video coordinator for B&R Stores, Lincoln, Neb. "Every year we do a decent business on sell-through in the fourth quarter," he said. All Christmas titles were strong sellers, he noted. "Our top two best sellers were 'The Santa Clause' and 'Apollo 13,' " said Gettner