HOUSTON -- It may be a first for supermarkets, but Randalls Food Markets here is successfully merchandising used golf balls.
In fact, the 76-store chain went chainwide with the merchandise last month after testing the product in 12 stores last year.
The recycled golf balls are being sold under a label named UFO's. They are priced at less than half the cost of golf balls sold new, and merchandised in shippers at the front end of stores. "The same balls sold new would cost around $25, which is quite a saving to our customers. The recycled balls sold very well during Christmas advertised at $7.99. They also move well in spring and early summer," said a chain source, who wished to remain anonymous.
The golf balls are supplied by a local firm that collects them from golf courses and driving ranges and recycles them, said the source, noting, "The supplier cleans the golf balls and makes sure they're top quality grade A balls." Recycled golf balls "are hard to distinguish from brand new ones since they come without any nicks, cuts or scratches. Our vendor examines them closely and rejects any that are damaged. The balls represent a cross-section of brand names," he added. Sold in 12-packs and packaged with a clear plastic front so the golf balls can be easily viewed, packages are displayed on a slant-back shippers. They retail for $9.99, and produce 30% margins for Randalls, said the source. Shippers are restocked at least weekly, and signs assure customers the balls "are recycled, high quality, premium, professional golf balls." The recycled balls are a good "impulse item most people don't expect to find at a supermarket. They do generate repeat sales," the source said.