ORLANDO, Fla. -- Millbrook Distribution Services will conduct category management tests in the oral care departments at Dierbergs Markets' 14 stores this fall. The chain is based in Chesterfield, Mo.
This will be the first in a series of category management pilot tests in health and beauty care that the distributor hopes to execute with some of its retailer partners over the next several years, according to John Massaua, Millbrook senior vice president of purchasing and merchandising, who is based in Leicester, Mass.
The category management project is part of Millbrook's new direction in providing retailers services that go beyond service merchandising and distribution of products.
Massaua gave preliminary details of the category management project during an interview with SN at Millbrook's "Expo '95" trade show held here July 29 to Aug. 1.
"We're working with some manufacturers to do category management as it's defined today. We're starting with a couple of retailers and will focus on one category to analyze what's going on in those stores," Massaua said.
Millbrook is discussing a similar project with Star Market Co., Cambridge, Mass. Millbrook began servicing Star's nonfood departments earlier this year. The tests would be run chainwide for both supermarket chains. Executives at Dierbergs and Star Market declined to comment in detail on the category management tests.
"We are viewing the analysis that has to take place as critical to helping a retailer make a decision about how much space should be allocated to a certain category, and how a retailer will place product and go to market with the category. Typically in the food store business, it just happens. Some guys are proactive but don't take time to say, 'how can I maximize sales, how am I going to make this important in my store, or should it be important in my store?' " Massaua said.
Fred King, Millbrook's senior vice president of sales and field operations, said, "Traditionally, the distributor wanted to get as many items in as much space as he could get. Now we are realizing that we have an obligation to use the retailer's space well, or give 4 feet back to grocery if we can't use it well. If we can't give retailers a good return on investment and turns on products then we are doing a disservice just to have items on the shelf."