D&W TO PUSH HIGH-END HAIR CARE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- D&W Food Centers here will attempt to boost sales of high-end hair care products in 1995.Starting Jan. 1, the 25-store chain will remerchandise its hair care sections chainwide by grouping expensive brands of shampoos, conditioners, styling products and other related items together and placing them at eye level on the gondola."This is an easy way to make customers step up to

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- D&W Food Centers here will attempt to boost sales of high-end hair care products in 1995.

Starting Jan. 1, the 25-store chain will remerchandise its hair care sections chainwide by grouping expensive brands of shampoos, conditioners, styling products and other related items together and placing them at eye level on the gondola.

"This is an easy way to make customers step up to higher grade products, especially those customers who are in a hurry," said Greg Van Overloop, director of general merchandise at the chain. He explained that health and beauty care shoppers aren't as brand loyal today as they used to be, so expensive hair care products placed at eye-level will have high impulse appeal for those with little time to be choosey.

Van Overloop said the items that will get eye-level shelf placement will retail about $5. These products will be merchandised starting at waist level and extend to the top tier of the 78-inch high gondolas. Less-costly selections will be placed lower on the gondola and will also be grouped by brand.

D&W currently merchandises higher and lower priced hair care brands and products by interspersing them in its 16- to 24-foot hair care sections. In replanogramming, the hair care section's overall size will remain unchanged.

The effect of the changes, Van Overloop predicted, will "spur better movement of the higher retail items" and "generate higher planned and impulse purchases in total hair care.

"We expect our affluent customer base to respond to the new presentation in a positive manner," he added.

Rather than testing the new category configuration at a few stores to gage shopper response, D&W is rolling the program into all stores at once, and intends on keeping it for a year, at which time "we'll assess what impact it's had on sales," he noted.