ACTING ON IMPULSE

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Major supermarkets here, apparently in an effort to boost sales between Halloween and Thanksgiving, focused promotions on a wide variety of high-impulse general merchandise items.Offerings included half-price lightbulb and food storage container promotions, and bakeware and bedding sales, SN found during Nov. 2 visits to a group of competing stores in Cherry Hill, and Voorhees,

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- Major supermarkets here, apparently in an effort to boost sales between Halloween and Thanksgiving, focused promotions on a wide variety of high-impulse general merchandise items.

Offerings included half-price lightbulb and food storage container promotions, and bakeware and bedding sales, SN found during Nov. 2 visits to a group of competing stores in Cherry Hill, and Voorhees, N.J. Blank video and audio cassette tapes, toys and sell-through home videos also were being promoted.

The items were featured in many different areas of the stores, though most prominently at front and rear endcaps, by the service counter and at regular in-line gondolas. They have been merchandised on spinner racks and wire stands, in corrugated shippers and on clip strips. During SN's visit, the ShopRite Supermarket at the Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center, Route 70 and Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, promoted four-packs of Sylvania lightbulbs at $1.74 and ShopRite store-brand soft white, three-way bulbs for $1.59.

Casper video sell-through tapes, which retailed at $14.99, and five-packs of JVC blank camcorder cassettes with a free fanny pack at $11.99 were positioned on a stand opposite the courtesy counter. Also offered were TDK blank video tapes for $1.99 and a five-pack of blank JVC videocassettes with a free cooler for $9.99. The display also held 100-count ShopRite envelopes for 89 cents, and 5-inch by 7-inch picture frames for $3.99. A Pathmark unit located across the street from ShopRite promoted four-packs of General Electric lightbulbs at $1.79. The slant-back display, which featured 40-, 60-, 75- and 100-watt bulbs, was set up inside the front door. It was the first product shoppers saw as they entered the store. The display carried a supply of $8.99 Kodak Cinderella watches clip-stripped to one side.

Pathmark also had a table of assorted men's and ladies' quartz watches set up by video rental and tagged as a "manager's special" at $19.99. Brands included Waltham, Capezio, Brut and others.

Further along that aisle, where cosmetics are offered, a wire stand was packed out with blank video tapes. A three-pack of Fuji blank video tape was priced at $7.99 while a 12-pack of Fuji blank audio tapes was tagged at $8.81. At the rear of the health and beauty care aisle that faces the fresh fish counter, an endcap promoted Pocahontas collectibles, $1.99; Kenworth electronic trucks, $16.99; Barbie watches, $4.99; and several styles of Barbie dolls priced from $7.99 to $17.99. The display had blister packs of Powermate retractable measuring tapes in 3-foot and 12-foot lengths for $2.99.

Pathmark also had a half-price Rubbermaid sale in its 20-foot-long, in-line food storage container department, with savings of 90 cents to $3.50 per item, depending on the product selected. In the greeting card aisle, a five-tiered mobile stand of Scotch Magic tape offered single rolls at $1.29 and a four-pack at $2.49. At an A&P Super Fresh Food Market at White Horse Road and Route 561 in Voorhees, a spinner rack of Boss work gloves priced from 99 cents to $2.49 was cross-merchandised in front of a floral showcase at the start of produce. "Casper" cartoon classics at a sell-through price of $3.99 and "Cinderella" video movies at $16.95 were merchandised from a rack in front of the courtesy booth. Super Fresh had a cotton throw in-and-out set up close by the video display. The Riverbend Collection of cotton 47-inch by 60-inch rugs was available in eight styles and priced at $17.99. A large endcap display of store-brand Master Choice and Eight O'Clock coffee across from the checkstands was flanked on the right by coffee filters. At the Acme Markets unit diagonally opposite the Super Fresh on the other side of White Horse Road, "Batman Forever" videos at a $19.99 sell-through price were offered at the service counter. Easel stands nearby had copies of The Farmers Almanac, which retailed at $2.99; audio books, $5.99, and Chameleon solar powered T shirts with images activated by the sun, $12.99. A shipper held Hammond 50-inch by 38-inch wall maps of the world, priced at $3.50. Miniature Acme Markets tractor trailers priced at $19.99 were on an endcap facing the service desk. Acme also promoted in-and-out bedding in blankets and pillows at $3.99 to $28.99. The items were merchandised on 15 feet of in-line gondola space at the beginning of the cereal aisle. In the same aisle on a facing gondola, stuffed bears were priced at $6.99 to $12.99, including an Acme bear for $9.99. A bargain book table of hardbacks was set up near the last checkstand, with titles offered at up to 80% off the original cover prices. Two endcaps across from meat cases at the back of the store were devoted to holiday baking and cooking. Aluminum foilware included cookie sheets, $2.99; roaster racks, $3.49; large roast pans, $2.39; roasting racks, $4.99; holiday table cloths, $3.99; metal roasting pans, $9.99; gravy separators, $1.99, and metal baking pans, $10.99. Sponges at 79 cents were clip stripped to the display. Giant Food, a Landover, Md.-based chain that plans on building about 10 to 15 new stores in the Philadelphia area over the next few years, promoted half-off and 25%-off GE lightbulbs.

At its first Super G unit, at Kresson and Springdale Roads, Cherry Hill, an endcap at the back of the household cleaning aisle featured four-packs of 40-, 60-, 75- and 100-watt bulbs at $1.39, down from the regular $2.79. It also featured three-way bulbs for 99 cents, reduced from the usual $1.89. Also, a three-way bulb in 30 to 100 watts sold at $1.41, down from $1.89.

A front endcap played up private-label Super G fire logs in several pack sizes. A single 3-pound log sold at 99 cents, and a case of six at $5.94. A single 5-pound log retailed at $1.49 and a carton of six logs was $8.94.