CHECKOUT CAKES SCORE AT PIGGLY WIGGLY STORE

MEQUON, Wis. -- A Piggly Wiggly store here has found that putting a tableful of all-occasion cakes upfront by the checkout stands can triple their sales.The 8-inch, single-layer rounds are such impulse items that the company decided to capitalize on that quality, and make sure customers are tempted before they can get out of the store, said Paul Godin, owner of the single-unit Piggly Wiggly in this

MEQUON, Wis. -- A Piggly Wiggly store here has found that putting a tableful of all-occasion cakes upfront by the checkout stands can triple their sales.

The 8-inch, single-layer rounds are such impulse items that the company decided to capitalize on that quality, and make sure customers are tempted before they can get out of the store, said Paul Godin, owner of the single-unit Piggly Wiggly in this Milwaukee suburb.

The cakes are also offered in a self-service case in the bakery, which is at the back of the store.

Before a display was put up front as well, the store would sell 20 to 25 of the cakes on a typical weekend. Now the number often hits 60, Godin said.

"We put them on a table at the front on weekends. After a week at work, people are looking to treat themselves, or they're having company over. The cakes are hard to resist because they look so good, and the price is right," Godin said. The retail is $4.99.

The front-end purchases have so far all been additional sales, he added.

"People who don't want to pay the price for a double-layer cake, or who don't want that much cake, are apt to pick up one of these." The double-layer 8-inch cakes in the store are $9.99.

The single rounds are brought in frozen and then are decorated in-store. The Piggly Wiggly unit had until this year bought its cakes finished from a local bakery. "But decorating them ourselves gives us more flexibility and has increased cake sales tremendously," said Judy Kindel, Piggly Wiggly deli-bakery associate who does the cake decorating.

Miniature Snickers, M&Ms, Butterfingers and Oreos are featured on some of the decorated cakes. There are also German chocolate, fudge, a fruit-topped cake, a rocky road with marshmallow icing, and one decorated with an ice cream cone. Colored icing simulates the ice cream.

The most popular are the Snickers and Oreo cakes, according to Kindel.