HOUSTON -- Randalls Food Markets here has nearly doubled its kitchen appliance variety to trigger higher impulse sales in housewares. The 75-store chain expanded its 20-foot small appliance section last October with additional stockkeeping units. New SKUs included about six different irons, electric can openers, two electric knives, toasters, toaster ovens, electric hand mixers and coffee makers.
The broader assortment is "drawing attention to our small appliances," said Bob Morrison, general merchandise buyer.
Preliminary sales results from the expanded section that is giving shoppers more choices should be reported sometime this month, said Morrison. The section now goes beyond merchandising just one or two models. In hand mixers, for example, selections now include three to five speed models in a good, better and best choice of price ranges. "Offering a variety of small appliance models is important in satisfying different shoppers' needs," Morrison noted. "In can openers, we promote an everyday starter model at $9.99 to attract the price-sensitive shopper, and build volume in the section. But there are customers for upscale models who will trade up to a higher price model," he added. Randalls made room on the shelf for the expanded mix by scaling back slower moving carving knives and corn poppers. Overall retails in the section are kept under $49.99.
The exception was a new line of breadmakers that was added at 12 stores last summer in three models priced at $99.99, $119.99
and $129.99. The breadmakers are being merchandised along with bread-making ingredients and cookbooks in the baking aisle. Initial sales were described as being fair by Morrison. At six stores with gourmet coffee bars, Randalls is getting some incremental appliance sales by cross-merchandising coffee makers and coffee mills in this area.
Coffee makers and coffee grinders are displayed on four-foot wide by about eight-foot high wall shelving, located to the left of the coffee bar, SN observed during a Randalls store visit.
Small two- to four-cup capacity coffee makers, as well as 30- to 40-cup models, were being retailed at $79 to $89.
Appliance sales at the coffee bars "are doing well and growing. While we don't see a big sales jump, we are gaining with extra pieces selling off that display," Morrison said.