A staple of most retailers' Halloween product mix, video is becoming more important to impulse merchandising as DVD sales continue to increase and low-priced catalog product becomes more available.
"We have a couple of freestanding displays of the traditional scary movies," said John Raley, director of general merchandise sales and merchandising, Raley's, Sacramento, Calif. The retailer will carry product for children and adults. "The adult product is more the 'Friday the 13th' type of movies, while the children's piece is more like 'Scooby-Doo."'
Catalog product will get more emphasis this year, said Bill Bryant, vice president of sales, Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn. "All studios will be releasing horror and Halloween classics on DVD this year. This will add momentum to impulse sales," he said.
"Halloween is one of the highest-volume seasonal holiday periods for video, along with Christmas and Easter. It provides retailers with additional ways to generate impulse sales of video products," Bryant said.
For Halloween, retailers need to merchandise audio along with video, said Jeff Manning, managing partner, F&M Merchant Group, Lewisville, Texas. "I would put it right in with the holiday items because customers are not going to look for it otherwise. It's going to be an impulse buy with the Halloween stuff," he said.
"Scary sounds and spooky music are kind of a mainstay," said Steve Urgo, GM buyer/merchandiser, Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto, Calif. "We usually bring in one SKU [stockkeeping unit] for the holiday, and that's about it." However, he did note that he is looking at other video programs to generate incremental sales.
"With Halloween falling on a Friday night, grocery and drug should see a terrific selling season," said George Fiscus, director of grocery and drug sales, Delta Entertainment, Los Angeles, and a former Bashas' executive. "Parties and Halloween events become much bigger events and much more numerous on a weekend evening."
"We don't get into it real big because Halloween is such a short selling period," said a nonfood executive with a Texas retailer. The chain will put in a 36- or 48-piece shipper in each store of catalog titles like "Night of the Living Dead" and "Friday the 13th" that can still be sold from the video racks after Halloween, he said.
For the independent customers of Unified Western Grocers, Commerce, Calif., Halloween videos tend to be a lower priority given their space constraints, said Larry Ishii, general manager, GM/HBC. "But it is definitely something we have to have in our program because it is a key time of year for prerecorded video," he said.