ATLANTA -- Surprisingly, supermarkets SN visited here lacked any real merchandising flair in drawing shoppers to fourth-quarter video sell-through. This was not the case in many other nonfood departments.
Even Kroger Co., the leading chain in this hotly contested growth market, had minimal freestanding displays in its self-contained rental departments. Of all stores visited Nov. 16 to 19, only a Kroger unit in Lawrenceville at the Riverside Exchange Plaza made an effort to give the department a holiday-themed look. It wrapped the frames of its main rental fixtures in gift wrap. A large holiday-themed door was built into the racks as a gift package and signed "Coming Soon, Santa's Specials."
Otherwise, Kroger units just had several small shippers of sell-through contained within the rental space, and no videos were seen merchandised in the main store.
At the Kroger unit at Saddlebrook Village, 10945 State Bridge Rd. in Alpharetta, a permanent 8-foot sell-through section was devoted to children's titles. In addition, 48 copies of "Pooh's Grand Adventure," at $18.99, and 24 copies of "The Swan Princess" were displayed in 4 feet on the corner wall next to children's rental releases.
One shipper of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" with approximately 80 units was merchandised in the 1,800-square-foot department. The title retailed for $15.99. A 60-unit DVD display also was out near the register. There was no special holiday merchandising in this Kroger department.
Publix Super Markets made a fair effort at having sell-through on the sales floor, but it did not take advantage of any type of holiday theme to merchandise titles. Racks appeared somewhat picked over and disorganized.
In Lawrenceville, at 2855 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Publix placed sell-through in one area at the far side of the checkout, opposite greeting cards. The section contained a 360-piece Disney kiosk with mostly Disney titles mixed in with others such as Crayola/Hallmark products priced at $12.95; "Annabelle's Wish" and "Goosebumps" at $9.99; "Batman & Robin," $14.99; "Mask" and "Zeus & Roxanne," unmarked.
Three corrugated shippers were nearby -- "Lost World," "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" and Elton John's new CD. About 40 units of "Lost World" were selling for $14.99 each. The Publix store at 11585 Jones Bridge Rd. in Abbott's Village, Alpharetta, has a Moovies store in the same plaza. Sell-through here was set on a 12-foot wire gondola containing about 400 cassettes. One end of the display featured Disney products. Titles included 17 units of "Liar Liar," at $14.99 each; 10 copies of "Batman & Robin," $8.99 each; 42 units of "Lost World," $14.99; 35 units of "Annabelle's Wish," $12.95; 26 units of Crayola/Hallmark video, $12.95; 29 copies of "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas," no price; and seven units of "Fun and Fancy Free," $16.99.
At many of the chains, price tags on titles were often not marked or easily seen. Sell-through merchandising at other store units was generally unimpressive and in some cases ignored completely. An older, traditional Ingles unit at 3925 Pleasant Hill Rd. in Duluth did not have any videos in the store.
A&P in the Cherokee Plaza at 3871 Peachtree Rd. in Brookhaven and at 4305 State Bridge Road in Alpharetta made small efforts at sell-through.
The Brookhaven unit had three rows of sell-through under the customer-service counter at the front of the store. The section contained about 150 cassettes, including 40 copies of "Liar Liar," priced at $19.95; and 16 copies of "Batman & Robin" and 20 copies of "Sleeping Beauty," at $17.99. Other recent titles displayed in the section were "Free Willy 3," "The Jungle Book 30th Anniversary," "Lost World," "Jingle All the Way," "Annabelle's Wish," "Casper: A Spirited Beginning" and "Mrs. Santa Claus."
Nearby, a small holiday shipper of holiday CDs and cassettes, retailing for $2.99 each, was touted in a small store flier. Hidden off to the side was a small, partially full shipper of videos and audio CDs commemorating Princess Diana.
At the newly opened State Bridge unit in Alpharetta, sell-through was displayed on a three-sided wire fixture holding about 100 cassettes per side of various children's titles. Of the newer titles, "Sleeping Beauty" was being sold for $17.99. To the side of the display was a shipper of "Lost World," with about 72 units selling for $19.99 each. Also hidden away, off to the side, was a shipper of "Diana" tapes for $14.99 and CDs for $4.98.
No special banners or point-of-sale displays were used to draw particular attention to A&P's small sell-through selection or to the holiday gift-giving season.
Cub Foods at 5495 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross, is a warehouse format with minimal sell-through at the front of the store, where a 24-unit shipper of "Lost World," at $14.98, and 24 units of "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas," at $16.98, was displayed. On a four-sided rack, with about 400 units, positioned in the middle of the store, older, low-priced catalog titles were being sold. Some of the titles were Spanish-language versions.
An upscale Harris Teeter at 799 Briarcliff in the Sage Hill Plaza, in the northeast part of the city, had just one two-shelf, 24-unit shipper of "Lost World" near the cash registers. The video was priced at $14.99. Also at the front checkout was a four-sided kiosk of Expert Software priced at $14.99. Nearby was a small corrugated shipper of software from DinoSoft.
Although a new Winn-Dixie Marketplace at 1404 Lawrenceville/Suwanee Rd., Lawrenceville, had a large overhead banner announcing "Anastasia, Nov. 21" at the center of the store near health and beauty care and checkout, sell-through remained scarce. Just one 36-unit shipper was spotted at the photo service area at the front of the store, with "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" and "Winnie the Pooh Christmas Too." The shipper had been sold down.