PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- K-B Toys here said last week that it was "more than pleased" with the partnerships it had with Safeway and Price Chopper during the recent holiday season.
"From our standpoint, things went great," Michael Glazer, president and chief executive of K-B Toys, told SN in an interview last week. He said there was "a good chance that we'll do something similar" again next year.
K-B selected about 100 different toy items for display in about 1,000 Safeway stores and in all 102 Price Chopper stores from November through the first week in January. Most of the toys were priced at about $10 or less, with a small selection of higher-priced toys -- up to about $20 -- thrown in. Items included $7.99 Barbie dolls, $12.99 Hot Wheels track sets for miniature racing cars, and $9.99 Fisher-Price pop-up farms for toddlers.
Maureen Murphy, customer services manager, Price Chopper, Schenectady, N.Y., told SN that the toy displays, which the chain featured in its seasonal aisle, "did very well during the holiday season."
Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., was given a basic planogram but displayed the toys in a variety of ways in different stores. The chain declined to comment on the sales results from the recent season.
"My guess is that they would tell you that they had some pretty positive customer feedback," said Glazer.
He also declined to discuss specific sales data. However, he did say that the supermarket shopping trends were slightly different from those in typical K-B Toys outlets, where sales increase fairly predictably day after day and week after week before Christmas.
"We were curious to see how that works with supermarkets, because the customer's not going in there looking for toys; they are going to buy food, and their traffic patterns aren't exactly the same," he said.
"There was a little bit more of a panic among shoppers who I guess hadn't done all of their Christmas shopping," Glazer said. "In the case of Safeway, I think they were sort of using some of those items as last-minute stocking stuffers."
He also said K-B would "certainly consider" expanding the test to additional supermarket chains next year.
In a separate experiment, Giant Food, Landover, Md., partnered with K-B rival Toys R Us this holiday season, creating Toys R Us-branded aisles in four supermarkets. Neither Giant nor Toys R Us, Paramus, N.J., could be reached to discuss their test, which included a much more extensive toy selection.
However, Giant spokesman Jamie Miller was quoted in USA Today as saying that the supermarket chain was "happy with sales over the holiday."