BOZZUTO'S ROLLS OUT NEW PROGRAMS

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn., unveiled plans to roll out several new initiatives at its 2004 Independent Retailer Conference here last week.Among the new introductions are a revamped category management system, more private-label offerings, and a "Family Value Store" marketing program the company said was inspired by a similar program that had been offered at Supervalu, Minneapolis.

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn., unveiled plans to roll out several new initiatives at its 2004 Independent Retailer Conference here last week.

Among the new introductions are a revamped category management system, more private-label offerings, and a "Family Value Store" marketing program the company said was inspired by a similar program that had been offered at Supervalu, Minneapolis. Bozzuto's said it has acquired several former Supervalu customers in New England since C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt., did an asset swap with Supervalu to acquire its New England operations.

Last month, Bozzuto's said it had already added 19 new accounts since the beginning of the year, after adding 177 in 2003.

"Hopefully, it hasn't changed us that much," said Michael A. Bozzuto, chairman and chief executive officer, in an interview here with SN. "We've just gotten bigger."

The company's new category management program, which will utilize a third-party workforce to reduce labor costs and which the company said would better coordinate product promotion and product selection, is scheduled to begin pilot testing on April 19 and is expected to roll out to stores June 4.

Jim Mirabito, owner, Village Market IGA, Hannibal, N.Y., said he planned to adopt the new system. "What I'm hoping to gain is an outside expert's vision of how I'm going to run my store," he said.

Other new programs include a pallet display program for store brands and the addition of the Lifemark brand for private-label health and beauty care products. In addition, Federated Group, Arlington Heights, Ill., which supplies Bozzuto's Hy-Top private-label products, is expanding its offerings to include more perishables.