GAYLORD, Mich. -- Glen's Markets here sold 10 times as many navel oranges as it did the same week a year ago in a "Truckload Orange Sale" earlier this month.
The promotion, which featured a half-case of fancy, seedless navel oranges for $3.98 and individual navel oranges for 10 cents each, went extremely well, according to Jack Lanners, director of fresh fruit and vegetables for the 25-unit chain. He moved 10,000 half cases during the event.
"We're just ecstatic about the whole promotion," he said. "We're going to do it again next year."
Lanners said consumers responded enthusiastically to the half-case size. He said some thrifty shoppers took advantage of the promotion and stocked up on several.
Despite bad weather during the promotion, overall produce sales volume increased by an average of 15.3% that week, he said, adding that he did not view the promotion as a money-maker. "We stirred up excitement, which is the important thing," he said.
The promotion extended beyond navel oranges, into the rest of the produce department and to other departments. Lanners said he tried to include anything orange-colored or anything that came in orange packaging.
Several units cross-merchandised orange soda in the produce department, next to the orange display. Orange-colored items like sweet potatoes were on special for 38 cents a pound, a one-pound bag of carrots retailed for 35 cents, large cantaloupes were $1.95 each and orange peppers were $1.28 each.
The chain's weekly circular also featured grocery and non-grocery items like Tide laundry detergent, which comes in a bright orange box, frozen orange juice and orange soda. In the seafood department, orange roughy fillets were featured. The bakery offered a special on orange
angel food cake and orange donut holes. The dairy department featured cheddar cheese.
Lanners estimated total store sales volume increased 2.24% during the promotion.
To generate interest and excitement, clerks sported orange sweatshirts, and orange balloons were distributed in each unit.
Each unit received a banner that announced "Truckload Orange Sale. A Sale with A-Peel." Lanners said he originally pitched the idea to the managers in November, with the intention of holding the promotion in December.
They convinced him to wait until after the holidays, when there would be fewer distractions for employees and more room for displays.
Individual units took the initiative and offered their own variations for the promotion, he said. One bakery department decorated cupcakes with orange frosting, he said.
Lanners said that credit for the successful promotion also went to Glen's orange supplier and its wholesaler. The supplier ensured Glen's would have enough oranges, even while heavy rains in California made harvesting and transporting the oranges difficult, and supplied point-of-sale materials. And its wholesaler ensured that the deliveries got to individual units on time, he said.
He said only one supplier was involved this year, but he expect s more next year. Lanners said he got the idea from a similar promotion staged at an independent in Washington state. The independent is a member of his "share group."