Merchandising liquid hand soap used to be fairly simple: Retailers simply placed it with bar soap in the grocery aisle.
Though Kash n' Karry Stores, Tampa, Fla., currently recognizes liquid hand soaps as grocery items, it plans to integrate them with other body cleansers near shampoo during the next three months, according to Peter Coe, category manager at the chain.
At present, larger Kash n' Karry stores dedicate 12 feet to personal care items on low-profile gondolas, of which at least 4 feet is allocated to liquid hand soaps. Standard stores devote 8 feet to personal care. Again, only about 4 feet is taken up by liquid hand soap, Coe added.
Other retailers, such as Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass., have started experimenting with products in grocery aisles, as well as in health and beauty care, said category manager Al Young. Liquid hand soap runs about 8 linear feet, he added.
Another retailer, Ray's Food Place, Brookings, Ore., also is merchandising in both locations, according to Ed Kessler, vice president of the independent. In his stores, liquid hand soap is merchandised on the top two shelves over bar soap.
"About 25% of our stores have bar soap as part of the HBC aisle. The other 75% to 80% are part of grocery," Kessler added.
Most retailers devote about 4 linear feet to liquid hand soap, according to an informal SN poll. Usually, the assortment is placed near laundry detergents, bar soaps and other household cleansers in a grocery aisle.
Rockville, Md.-based Magruders averages more than 4 running feet, according to Mark Polsky, senior vice president at the independent. In fact, depending on the store, liquid hand soap could extend from 8 to 12 feet, he said.
Like Magruders, Bashas' Markets, Chandler, Ariz., gives anywhere from 8 to 16 feet, said Dale Schloss, grocery buyer at the chain.
Of the retailers SN surveyed, Foodland Supermarkets, Honolulu, dedicated the least amount of grocery-aisle shelving, only 2 feet merchandised near bar soaps, said Shirley Kuma, spokeswoman for the company.