HOUSEWARES IS A VIABLE, GROWING CATEGORY

NEW YORK -- Housewares is a strong and growing category for many supermarket chains, according to research conducted jointly by SN and HFN (a weekly publication on home products retailing), both put out by Fairchild Publications here.The above chart -- the first of its kind -- ranks supermarket chains by housewares sales, and shows the top four grocery retailers had housewares sales over $400 million

NEW YORK -- Housewares is a strong and growing category for many supermarket chains, according to research conducted jointly by SN and HFN (a weekly publication on home products retailing), both put out by Fairchild Publications here.

The above chart -- the first of its kind -- ranks supermarket chains by housewares sales, and shows the top four grocery retailers had housewares sales over $400 million each in 2002. Kroger Co., Cincinnati, led all supermarket retailers with $898 million in housewares sales, according to the estimates by SN and HFN.

Supermarkets saw solid growth for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 22, 2003, according to the Strategic Planner of ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill. Total housewares appliances were up 4.4%, personal grooming appliances increased 14.4%, total kitchen gadgets rose 5.6%, and storage and space management products increased 0.8%. These same categories were about flat for Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., according to ACNielsen Wal-Mart Channel Service.

"More supermarkets are carrying housewares items because of the convenience factor," said Connie Taylor, category manager, housewares, Andronico's Markets, Albany, Calif. Because of the growth of Wal-Mart Supercenters, the housewares category is going to increase in importance in supermarkets, said Neil Stern, retail consultant, McMillan/Doolittle, Chicago. "Either by plan or necessity, supermarkets are going to include more nonfoods in their assortments, and housewares is a logical general merchandise leader within the store. We are going to see supermarkets devoting more resources and more space to the category as we move ahead," he said.