CLEVELAND -- Category management has led to increased space for ice cream in Kroger's Columbus, Ohio division.
"A lot of our older stores and stores that have not been remodeled are so underspaced in ice cream it's unreal," Judd Wells, the division's category manager for dairy and frozen foods, told attendees at the National Frozen Food Month Kickoff here.
"You ask the head frozen food clerk what needs to be stocked every day and it's ice cream. So we're actually laying out some stores now based on percent of sales. In some of our newer stores we're putting 25 doors in ice cream and seven and eight doors in novelties. I know we're going to get a return on it."
Improved data collection has been a key element in creating the change, Wells said.
"We have the ability to pull frozen food category financial data on every store. When we go in to reset that store, I pull the numbers down and actually reallocate every category in frozen food based on what's selling in that store.
"So we have various planograms that range from two or three doors, up to nine and 18 doors, depending on the category. We could go into an upper-scale store and 25% of his business could be in premium dinners and entrees. We could go 10 miles down the road and only 15% of his business is in premium dinners and entrees. We actually fluctuate the size of the planograms to satisfy consumer demand in each and every one of our stores."
That can result in numerous planogram variations.
"Last spring we put a clustering program in on ice cream," he said. "We had about 66 different planograms out there to satisfy the various demands of what we thought we would need. It was a lot of work, but it paid off greatly."