SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Big Y Foods here has found that supermarkets can benefit from the burgeoning home office market.
Copy and fax paper moved so fast in a chainwide, one-week promotion that some stores sold out within days, according to the supplier of the promotion.
Offering a nontraditional supermarket item like copy paper can help combat mass merchandisers, which often run food promotions to draw traffic, said Jan Winn, director of health and beauty care and general merchandise.
"Nonfood retailers use food to attract customers, so we must find nonfood products that bring shoppers to our stores," Winn said.
Big Y purchased the paper directly from Domtar, a Canadian paper manufacturer, through a paper broker, Grand Central Paper, West Hartford, Conn. The program was implemented in a cross-docking arrangement with Big Y's warehouse.
"It was a success. We sold a ton of the copy paper," Winn said. Under the campaign, 8.5-inch by 11-inch fax and copy paper was priced at $2.88 per 500-sheet ream to compete against the large killer category office supply stores, added Winn. The retails were significantly lower than the selection of copy paper found in Big Y's home office departments, which typically sell copy paper for about $7 a ream.
Edward C. Rosenfield, president of Grand Central Paper, said due to the growing number of home-based lawyers, accountants and other professionals,
there's more of a demand for copy paper. "Photocopy paper is the No. 1 stockkeeping unit in office supply stores, and is the leading sale item at club stores in the office department," he said. But since most of the home office supply stores emphasize larger count sizes, supermarkets are in a good position to sell single reams. "The killer category office supply stores like to push full 10-ream 5,000-sheet cases of copy paper," he said. The paper was displayed at endcaps. Large stores received 40-case pallets; smaller stores, 10-case.
Ads that ran on the front page of the weekly circular stated that the promotion offered the "lowest copy paper price in town for laser printers or copiers." Rosenfield said supermarkets can be competitive with pricing by purchasing shipments from mills or through a warehouse. "As the supermarket industry strives to make itself a one-stop shopping convenience, it can become a new channel for these products," he said. Though paper prices shot up over the last year, Rosenfield said paper mills are bringing the cost of copy paper down with new production systems that prepare pallets of copy paper for cross-docking at a customer's depot.