CENTER STORE FORMULA GIVEN: HIGHLIGHT, EXCITE, AND SALES IGNITE

HOUSTON -- Creating excitement through promotions tied to Center Store can help retailers increase market share, according to speakers at the National Grocers Association convention.Center Store played a role in several key promotional campaigns highlighted by panelists at "The War for Market Share: 75 Ideas in 75 Minutes," a seminar conducted at the show, held here from Feb. 9 to 12. Chuck O'Donnell,

HOUSTON -- Creating excitement through promotions tied to Center Store can help retailers increase market share, according to speakers at the National Grocers Association convention.

Center Store played a role in several key promotional campaigns highlighted by panelists at "The War for Market Share: 75 Ideas in 75 Minutes," a seminar conducted at the show, held here from Feb. 9 to 12. Chuck O'Donnell, manager of the retail training department at Associated Grocers, Seattle, suggested the following strategies:

Retailers can benefit from sampling their private-label products. "Private label is a real strong point, and it's not something your customers buy somewhere else," O'Donnell said.

Get involved in the community's Welcome Wagon. Associated works with one store that sends a grocery bag filled with cleaning supplies to new neighbors.

Create a treasure hunt by color-coding inventory and disseminating maps that show where the items can be found.

Promote items that encourage repeat and increased consumption, such as baby food, diapers, soft drinks and snack items. He suggested promoting those items in-store.

Offer kids a cookie-stacking contest. Because parents will buy cookies for their child to participate, retailers can move a substantial amount of product.

Another panelist, Mark Skogen, store manager and owner of Festival Foods, La Crosse, Wis., suggested truckload sales. One of his stores sold 54,000 Coca-Cola 12-packs of in two days during such a promotion.