Bolstered by "Titanic" and under-$10 movie programs, supermarkets saw a significant jump in the percentage of sell-through video sales in 1998 coming from non-children's theatrical movies.
Adult-oriented titles comprised 35% of sell-through for supermarkets responding to SN's video survey. This is the highest percentage recorded in the four years that SN has asked about this category. From 1995 through 1997, non-children's theatrical movies represented 32%, 33% and 32%, respectively. These results confirm that supermarket sell-through is about more than mothers buying children's tapes for their kids, said industry observers.
"The major feature sell-through titles that appeal to mature audiences do extremely well in supermarkets, particularly the big box office theatricals," said Bill Bryant, vice president, sales, grocery and drug at Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn. The budget-priced movies sell very strongly when they are positioned in the main traffic areas at the front of the store, he added.
Expansion of supermarket sell-through programs continues, according to the survey, although at slightly diminished levels compared with past years. For example, 34% said they were expanding in inventory size, compared with 38% last year; 20% said they were expanding the number of sell-through sections, compared with 32% last year.
In-and-out programs of under-$10 titles remain popular with 41% of respondents, compared with 47% last year. Sixteen percent of those surveyed said they were diversifying into areas like games and computer software. Last year, 28% opted to diversify product lines. There were 13% who said they were cutting back or eliminating video sell-through. This compares with 7% in 1997, 4% in 1996, 6% in 1995 and none in 1994.
This year for the first time, SN asked if stores carried front-line music titles like popular CDs and cassettes. Seven percent said yes, 9% were considering music and 84% said no. In another first-time question, 26% said they were adding DVD software for sale.
Concern about security is increasing, as 51% said they sell products in the main shopping areas of the stores, compared with 58% last year. A third of respondents only offer hit products from shippers, up from 27% last year, and 18% sell only from secured areas or service desks, up from 13.5% last year. Asked if shrink has affected their video programs in the last one to two years, 54% said yes, 39% no and 7% were undecided.
A uniform approach to source tagging entertainment software products will help the shrink situation, but this situation is even more fragmented among supermarkets than in other fields, he noted. However, one retailer wrote in, "Even with Knogo or Sensormatic, thieves enjoy."