ATLANTA -- Kroger is ringing up consistent sales with loaves of French bread, some hot from the oven and some ready-to-bake, merchandised together at different spots in the store.
On a recent visit to a Kroger unit in Alpharetta, a bedroom community here, SN observed that smack at the beginning of the first traffic aisle, an attractive display featured two deep baskets with bunches of loaves standing on end. One basket held the baked -- in fact, it was still warm -- and the other held the ready-to-bake, with baking instructions on the see-through bags.
A sign at the display said, "Bread hot from the oven, at 4, 5, 6 and 7 daily, or take home and bake, $1.50." Jars of garlic spread had a spot on a wire shelf between the two baskets of bread.
Such a display is certainly not a new idea, but what's notable is that it's actually executed each day, said Ira Blumenthal, president, Co-Opportunities, an Atlanta-based consulting firm, who's familiar with the Alpharetta store.
"There isn't a single supermarket in the country that doesn't bake bread, and they all could do this same thing -- but not many do. They've probably thought about it, but I believe everything in life is 5% idea and 95% work. The issue here is that Kroger is working. They're not afraid to try things," Blumenthal said.
It looks like this thing works. A source in the in-store bakery told SN the French bread can be counted on to produce sales every single day, come rain or shine, and Kroger has been doing this for at least three years.
"It's one of our most consistent sellers. We don't sell a huge lot, but we do sell them every day no matter what -- winter, summer, all the time -- and every single one of our stores does this. We put the displays in three places. There's that one near the entrance, a pod in front of the bakery, and one up by the registers. Sales are pretty much split between the already-baked and the just-bake-it loaves," the Kroger associate said.
"We have four varieties: plain, multi-grain, sourdough and garlic. The plain is the biggest seller, but when we sample it, people tell us they really like the multi-grain a lot. It's a six-grain bread, but it has a big wheat flavor."