Some members of the General Merchandise Distributors' Educational Foundation's steering committee, who worked on the "Seasonal Best Practices" study, fielded questions from the audience during a roundtable discussion on the subject.
e critical in as much as the supplier, retailer and distributor must be aligned in order to have this thing work well. It shouldn't be a necessity in order to get it going, however.
MANSFIELD: Although strategic alliances with suppliers are very important, if their goals for the category and season aren't the same as Harris Teeter's goals, we'll never realize the full potential or make as much money.
LETOURNEAU: We will look to direction from store management or other departments to get everybody involved. So there will be alliances at store level and alliances with wholesalers and suppliers.
DILAURI: Promotional best practices are important with or without alliances, but they do help.
QUESTION: How do you coordinate with grocery departments and the rest of the store in putting together a seasonal program?
MANSFIELD: All of us in nonfood are continually thrown up against the food first philosophy.
At Harris Teeter, we have approached nonfood as a complement to the food first strategy. So we aren't competing with it. We then provide a financial objective on what that space and area in the store can add to the bottom line.
We appeal to the back pocket of senior staff in order to drive nonfood promotions through the store. Coordinating that with grocery departments has not been difficult. For us, it's a team effort.
QUESTION: What in your opinion is the most important part of seasonal best practices?
HOFFMEYER: How well we can get it executed at retail is the most important thing. The key is communicating to the store clerk on the sales floor, who has to implement it. The seasonal event planner is simply written. It's not complicated and it will make it happen on the floor.
THOMPSON: This is a tool to internally not only plan and improve your performance, but walk down the hall of your respective organizations and build momentum for the seasonal category from the top down.
QUESTION: Should we discuss seasonal as perishable items?
DILAURI: That is also an advantage to other classes of trade in that they had a markdown strategy up front. On food, a lot of times there hasn't been a markdown strategy. So what do we do with it? How do we handle it? Is it built into the overall process? Our steering committee panel has handled it as perishables. We need to plan up front for it so there are no surprises on the back end.