BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Sales have tripled in some departments at Ingles Markets, based here, as a result of new and expanded general merchandise sets.
A new store, which opened here last month, featured many of the revamped sections. There are 59 other new stores or stores slated for expansion that also will include the changes in general merchandise, said Tony Federico, vice president of nonfood.
Ingles began the first phase of its general merchandise expansion program last spring with bakeware and kitchen gadgets. Movement in both categories tripled just 60 days after Ingles rolled out its new planogram.
In the 4- to 6-foot bakeware section, 20 stockkeeping units were added to the 15-SKU mix.
"The department features new angled wire display racks in a presentation that shows more of the product. Customers couldn't see the products when they used to be flat on shelves, and they would walk right by the section," Federico said. Other changes included enlarging the 4- to 8-foot Ekco kitchen gadgets sections by extending the peg hooks that hold the products. Gadget variety was increased to 110 items from 65. The card backing on the Ekco kitchen products also was changed from gray to white to create "a much more striking contrast against a black pegboard backing," Federico added.
Ingles is planning the new gadgets and bakeware programs for 170 stores by the end of next year, he said.
New sets added to the general merchandise department included: a 4-foot mailing supply center, an 8-foot Xerox office supply section, a 4-foot children's craft center and an 8-foot seasonal welcome mat section.
A new 4-foot barware section featuring boxed sets will be merchandised with party supplies in the new and remodeled stores.
The chain is setting up 4-foot pot and pan departments with price points under $14.99, and 8-foot everyday glassware departments. A new section of higher-priced, hand-dipped candles also is debuting.
In addition, many of the general merchandise sections have been expanded. These include picture frames, which doubled to 8 feet; contact paper, increased to 4 feet, and school supplies, widened from 12 feet to 20 feet.
Broader mixes of products also have been introduced in shoe care and accessories, socks, place mats, corrugated storage containers and shipping boxes, sponges, bath accessories, toys and children's books. These products will be in 4-foot sections along with cookbooks in the baking aisle. An 8-foot styrofoam and picnic cooler section will be added, too.
Smoking accessories with ashtrays and lighters will be set in 4-foot sections. Mops and brooms will be doubled to a new 16-foot department.
Ingles is expanding Pyrex products to a 4-foot set, and doubling coffee supplies, including filters and cleaning implements.
Also featured will be a 4-foot section of stove supplies, including replacement ranges and stove controls, hot pads and paints.
Automotive and picture frames will double to 8-foot sections.
In a continuing test of the impact of demographics on sales, upscale kitchen gadgets, including some imported high-end Pedrini items, retailing from $7 to $10, and barware accessories and sets, priced under $19.99, have been merchandised at 20 stores for the past year.