DUBLIN, Calif. -- Lucky Stores here has remerchandised its ethnic housewares to distinguish items from its regular cookware lines.
Starting last November, the chain began rolling out new International Cooking Centers to 90 Southern division stores. An overhead header sign identifies the four- to eight-foot sections that feature in-line Oriental and Mexican cookware.
The International Cooking Centers feature Mexican Fiesta and China Village products from Keilen Ltd., Wilmington, Mass., and offer cookware and accessories used in the preparation or serving of Mexican and Oriental foods. Items include tortilla serving platters, a fajita sizzler set, a nacho skillet, chili bowl sets, taco grater set, paella pan and tortilla warmer. About 30 stockkeeping units comprise the Oriental cookware selection, including stir fry pans, woks, accessories and cooking sauces. Ethnic cookware price points are $1.99 to $19.99 with profit margins between 30% and 40%, said a source familiar with the chain's housewares merchandising.
Lucky officials declined to comment on the centers. But the source said, "The new sets are doing well and getting good shopper response. They have given the ethnic mix a distinctive look which is meeting the needs of the chain's large Hispanic and Asian customer mix."
Lucky's Hispanic customers make up 34% of its total customer base, he added. The chain also is trying to cash in on the demand and popularity of Oriental foods and cooking.
Prior to the resets of ethnic bakeware, Lucky merchandised the items from freestanding portable display racks. Some items also were incorporated into its 12-foot general cookware sections. "Lucky would display Hispanic tamale pots at the bottom tier of the shelf and Oriental woks on an upper cookware shelf, but the ethnic items lacked a clear identity," said the source. Simultaneously with creating special ethnic sections, Lucky installed a new everyday line of traditional Mexican cookware sections consisting of 30 SKUs of blue speckled enameled pots and pans in 80 Southern division stores that have a high concentration of Hispanic shoppers. The Mexican cookware is in high tempered porcelain enamel over steel, and made for high temperature cooking.
In the past, the chain merchandised this cookware as an in-and-out promotion, and later offered it as an everyday line before the distributor went out of business, added the source. The more traditional Mexican cookware carries price points in the $1.99 to $18 range, with profits running as high as 38% to 50%. The cookware is merchandised on eight feet of grocery gondola shelving in an Hispanic grocery aisle. The mix contains tamale pots, coffee pots, serving and slotted spoons, cups, plates and related cookware and serving accessories. The products are promoted at 20% off regular retails.