ATLANTA — Brookshire Grocery Co. has assigned good grades to a one-year-old category collaboration program with suppliers and is poised to grow the effort, according to a conference presentation here last week.
The initiative, which spans a wide range of store segments, from grocery to perishables, has produced sales and share gains for the Tyler, Texas-based retailer. Brookshire shares data with suppliers (for a fee) and then solicits their feedback and insights.
“We deal with more than 400 categories with only 11 analysts,” Keith Bejcek, category analysis manager for Brookshire, said during a presentation at the 2010 Category Management Conference sponsored by the Category Management Association. “Four hundred category reviews is a ton of reviews. So collaboration with vendors is key.”
Vendor partners participate in Brookshire's BGC Product Insight project, in which the retailer shares with suppliers their data, including by store and SKU, Bejcek said. Suppliers study the data to find new opportunities for collaboration. Brookshire worked with 12 suppliers across a range of categories in the inaugural year of this initiative, and has just expanded the number of partners.
An executive from one of the supplier partners, Hormel Foods, outlined collaborative efforts in the pork category during the presentation.
Hormel provided insights and analysis to Brookshire on how to change certain sales and marketing practices in its formats, explained Stephanie Postma, regional team leader, Hormel Fresh Foods. The successful results will lead to exploring additional fresh meat opportunities based on deeper analysis of shopper card data.
Among the successful collaboration initiatives, Brookshire developed an ad rotation for running pork ribs on promotion, which produced a 17% sales increase and a 20% jump in the retailer's fair share of the market, said Postma.
Brookshire's Super 1 Foods format adopted a practice of carrying ribs consistently, which lifted sales in that category 33%, Postma said. That format also saw a 4% category sales gain from a program to develop a core list of pork items to regularly carry, and a 23% gain on promoted sales from an initiative to maintain a promotional advantage on pork ads vs. the competition.
“Fresh meat and category management don't go together with most retailers,” Postma said. “It's the final frontier of category management.”
Hormel's collaborative efforts with Brookshire included ad planning, price elasticity analysis, segmentation and loyalty card analysis, Postma said.
Category managers at Brookshire communicate with a wide range of the retailer's team members involved in functions such as data integrity, store brands, marketing and pricing, Bejcek said.