BYRD RE-ENTERS GREETING CARD MARKET

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Byrd Food Stores here introduced new 28- to 60-foot greeting card sections at 35 stores this month.to other retailers, especially to drug stores."We felt there was a lot of potential card volume from customers while they are in our stores. In the time we were without a greeting card department, they had to go somewhere else for their card needs," said Russ Harden, vice president

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Byrd Food Stores here introduced new 28- to 60-foot greeting card sections at 35 stores this month.

to other retailers, especially to drug stores.

"We felt there was a lot of potential card volume from customers while they are in our stores. In the time we were without a greeting card department, they had to go somewhere else for their card needs," said Russ Harden, vice president of operations at the 42-store retailer.

Byrd decided to eliminate the greeting card departments because of problems in maintaining the sections, said Harden.

"We had several card suppliers that maintained the sections. But the card area is like any other business -- it's sometimes hard to find good quality help," he said. Harden declined to be specific on the various card suppliers or lines the chain had previously offered. Byrd carved out space for its card departments at former seasonal promotion areas and by floral departments. Cards, supplied by Ambassador Cards, Kansas City, Mo., are merchandised on cabinets set up in a straight in-line run, or on two racks arranged back-to-back. The product mix is priced from $1 to $4.25.

Harden said impulse card sales have been strong. "By the second week some stores had already sold out their Christmas cards, which we had to re-order," he added.

Harden said plans call for card departments to go into seven remaining stores as they undergo remodeling. Two new store units are scheduled to open in January and February, and another is slated to come on line in March or April, Harden said.