OSAGE BEACH, Mo. [FNS] -- End aisle promotions are paramount in SuperValu's quest to revitalize the center store, as shown by a pilot program testing ten stores in Wisconsin.
"We need endcaps to send a price message through the entire store," Greg Schneider, manager of center store for SuperValu, Midwest region, told retailers attending the annual convention of the Missouri Grocers Association here recently. "Using the endcaps, you need to tell the customer that every time you come in our store, you will get a fair price."
Faced with a consistent loss of market share to mass merchants of items ranging from bath tissue to liquid laundry detergents, SuperValu launched a pilot program in June, 1999, to recapture some of the lost center store business.
The pilot involves ten stores -- most of them in north central Wisconsin. Part of SuperValu's Center Store Strategy program, the pilot uses arm and blade signs, shelf poppers, side kick displays and power panels to highlight endcap products.
End displays are needed to send a message, Schneider said. "For example, if you want to get the message across that you are in the diaper business, be price conscious on the diapers, but include a higher gross profit product line in the same display. If you know that the same shopper who buys diapers also buys pet toys or applesauce, they can be included on the same endcap as products with greater gross profit," Schneider said.
Some of the best increases in sales and gross profits in the test stores have been in cereal and coffee, the speaker noted.
Sales of the latter product have been running over 19% higher than before the pilot began, while cereal sales are up more than 9%, he said. Sales of candy, "where we have hardly scratched the surface yet," were significantly higher, grocers were told.
The SuperValu strategy also involves cost-cutting in product acquisition and handling. In cereals, for example, 300 stockkeeping units available at the warehouse were consolidated into 170 to 200 at store level.