GIANT FOOD TO GREET 1996 WITH MORE CROSS-PROMOTIONS FEATURING CARDS

LANDOVER, Md. -- Giant Food here will unleash a new round of aggressive greeting card cross-promotions with other store departments starting in January.The steady schedule of greeting card promotions, and a rollout earlier this year of new card department signs with ceiling mobiles and aisle headers are all designed to pull traffic into the destination card centers at Giant's 160 stores, said Gerry

LANDOVER, Md. -- Giant Food here will unleash a new round of aggressive greeting card cross-promotions with other store departments starting in January.

The steady schedule of greeting card promotions, and a rollout earlier this year of new card department signs with ceiling mobiles and aisle headers are all designed to pull traffic into the destination card centers at Giant's 160 stores, said Gerry Hemming, Giant's design director. "It's generated heightened awareness of this category over the last six to nine months," the Giant executive stated, adding that the chain has enjoyed double-digit sales gains in its card departments this year. The chain works on an everyday low price policy in merchandising its greeting cards and offers 20% discounts on everyday cards, gift wraps and party goods. Although Hemming declined to detail upcoming promotions, past monthly two-week efforts have involved tie-ins with beverages, batteries, film, charcoal and spices and herbs.

Most recently, Giant offered $1 off McCormick spices with the purchase of two greeting cards during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

Others included $1 off Coca Cola, Pepsi, film and photo processing with the purchase of three greeting cards and half-off super specials on religious and Christmas cards, a package of 75 bows, private-label cellophane tape, and $1 off a package of 132-count Crystal tissue paper. The effort to update point-of-purchase materials with colorful, customized card rack headers and hanging mobiles has helped draw attention to Giant's card centers, which Hemming said are set up either in-line or at a corner alcove in some stores. He said Giant prefers to position its greeting cards at a more centrally located in-line aisle, which is more visible and generally bigger than an alcove location. "The mobiles and card rack headers feature an appealing cartoon character developed for us by Ambassador Cards to represent the greeting card department. The character can be used in all holiday promotions and be a Santa at Christmas, a Bunny at Easter and a leprechaun at St. Patrick's Day," Hemming said. The greeting card aisle locators and ceiling mobiles "identify that aisle as a destination separate from grocery rather than being one of just many aisles in the store," he said, pointing out that it is similar to the way Giant distinguishes its Super Deal aisle.

Giant, which refers to its card sections in ads as "the card shop where you shop," has experienced double-digit sales increases in its card department for the 12 months through November, confirmed Rebecca Bogen, manager of design development for retail environments at the card manufacturer. While a lot of supermarket shoppers may have a need for greeting cards,"they rarely get to the card department. Once they're there, 80% buy cards," she added.

During the spring card season -- which includes Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day -- Giant enjoyed especially strong card sales, she added.