WAYNE, N.J. -- Combined sales of two 20-week continuity programs at Grand Union Co. here reached $7 million, making them the largest dollar volume continuity campaigns the chain has run.
Sales of the programs "individually exceeded what we usually do for the total year on most continuities," said Bob Pikarsky, category manager of general merchandise at Grand Union. In one promotion, 110 Southern region units sold Master Suite towel products worth approximately $3 million at cost. In another, 127 Northern region stores sold about $4 million of Lady Pepperell sheets and pillow cases and Manetta Mills thermal blankets at cost, said Pikarsky. Both programs ran from December to May. Combined sales of the promotions represented three times what the chain does in other continuities, according to Pikarsky. "They helped build traffic, hold our sales base and increase total store volume a few percentages, which is what we were looking for," he said.
Other supermarket chains also recently concluded successful continuity sales. According to trade observers, Jitney Jungle Stores of America, an 86-store chain in Jackson, Miss., sold Master Suite collection towel products worth about $1.6 million at cost during a 16-week continuity that wrapped up in May. And Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif., sold several million dollars worth of Woodhill design stoneware in its first dishware continuity in about five years, according to an industry source. Vons executives declined to comment.
The Jitney Jungle promotion "had a positive impact in generating added sales and profits, and offered a general merchandise value that customers wouldn't usually find at our stores," said Al Booth, assistant director of general merchandise and health and beauty care. Booth declined to comment on sales figures, except to say "we're still evaluating the final numbers." The chains ran the general merchandise continuities as traffic-building promotions. Most items were offered at cost, except for completer accessories, said informed sources. "Vons had solid shopper response to a 48-store test of the program last October before it decided to roll it into 260 additional stores in January," added the source. The dinnerware sales campaign, supplied by Citation Cos., Birmingham, Ala., ends this month, said the source. At Vons, a four-piece place setting -- dinner plate, cup and saucer and salad plate -- was available for 99 cents with a required $100 purchase and one completed 20-stamp saver card. One stamp was given with each $5 purchase, so each fill-in card represented $100 in total store purchases. Without the completed saver card, dinner plates retailed for $2.49 each; cups, 99 cents each; saucers, $1.49, and salad plates, $1.79. Vons offered completer pieces from $8.99 to $18.99, and promoted them in weekly in-ad coupons at $6.99 to $17.99. Vons merchandised the stoneware at full endcaps for all basic selections and accessory pieces, and used shippers at checkouts with additional four-piece place settings. Vons' previous dinnerware continuity offered a place setting for about $3.99 with a $10 purchase, the sources said. In both the Grand Union and Jitney Jungle Master Suite collection continuities, supplied by Encore Promotions, Westbury, N.Y., a customer could purchase each piece at the promotional price with one filled-in 30-stamp savings certificate. A customer received a stamp for the card with each $5 purchase.
Each Grand Union completed saver certificate enabled a shopper to buy one of the following: a bath towel for $1.99; hand towel, 99 cents; king towel, $6.99; bath striped towel, $2.99; tub mat, $2.99, and a juvenile towel set, $6.99. Regular retails for these items retailed for $4.99 to $10.99. Wash cloths valued at $3.99 were free with a saver card. SN observed brisk sales and strong promotions during the continuity at a Newtown, Conn. unit.
Grand Union displayed the products at front endcaps with extended wings for added inventory depth, and used circulars and freestanding signs to alert shoppers. Meanwhile, under Grand Union's sheet and blanket continuity, supplied by Citation, customers received a stamp with each $5 purchase to fill a 40-stamp card. Using a completed saver card, a shopper was able to purchase a twin set sheet at $6.99 compared with the regular retail of $16.99; full set, $13.99, down from $23.99; queen set, $19.99, from $29.99, and king set, $24.99, from $34.99.