AUTRY GREER FINDS HBC SALES CLIMB 10% AFTER EXPANSION

PRICHARD, Ala. -- Autry Greer & Sons' expansion of its health and beauty care departments at the beginning of this year has resulted in a 10% increase in sales.The expansion has been rolled out chainwide at all 39 stores and is designed to accommodate new HBC products and wider assortments in the section. The move also offers an opportunity to embark on more aggressive promotions in the department.To

PRICHARD, Ala. -- Autry Greer & Sons' expansion of its health and beauty care departments at the beginning of this year has resulted in a 10% increase in sales.

The expansion has been rolled out chainwide at all 39 stores and is designed to accommodate new HBC products and wider assortments in the section. The move also offers an opportunity to embark on more aggressive promotions in the department.

To date, the retailer had reset 15 stores in the new HBC configuration. The balance of stores are expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to Audie Waters, HBC buyer.

"We're increasing HBC to a 36- from a 28-foot section at our stores, which on average have 15,000 square feet of selling area. HBC profit is good and movement is picking up all the time in national brands, but especially in our Hy-Top private-label brand," said Waters.

The larger HBC assortment encompasses some 50 new stockkeeping units, including shampoos and hair conditioners, dental needs and analgesics and cold and flu remedies. The chain, which buys its HBC products directly from its warehouse, has also begun an HBC weekly ad that features two major items at cost and three additional selections at regular retails.

"We're hoping the larger department and product variety will result in larger average customer HBC transactions. We've increased our HBC advertising to give it more exposure, with hot items run at cost. These will be in private label some weeks and in national brands at other times. Customers recognize this as a good value."

The larger section provides the room "to bring in new items, which add excitement and spark shopper interest in the section as shoppers come looking for the items manufacturers will coupon or special."