IGA SPOTLIGHTS COOKIES

CHICAGO -- IGA will kick off its fourth annual Cookie Bonanza retail display contest next week, allowing store managers to win cash prizes.Franchises are encouraged to strongly push store-brand cookies Aug. 23 to Sept. 13, then submit a contest entry form and photograph of the store display to IGA's corporate base here. IGA divides its domestic stores into seven region, and each will get three winners

CHICAGO -- IGA will kick off its fourth annual Cookie Bonanza retail display contest next week, allowing store managers to win cash prizes.

Franchises are encouraged to strongly push store-brand cookies Aug. 23 to Sept. 13, then submit a contest entry form and photograph of the store display to IGA's corporate base here. IGA divides its domestic stores into seven region, and each will get three winners awarded either $1,000, $500 or $200.

Cookie sales have been impacted by the low-carb trend, and the one aim of the contest seeks to regain lost sales and renew the focus on IGA's store brand, Jim Collins, account manager for IGA, told SN.

"We all know off-shelf displays build sales, so we try to stimulate sales and that's a good way of doing it. That three-week promotion kicks [sales] up between 40% and 50%," Collins noted. "Of the IGA promotions, it's the only one that is exclusively for the IGA label."

Other annual promotions, like IGA's Hometown Pride contest in which the chain honors local heroes, involve national consumer packaged goods manufacturers that include Budweiser, Campbell's and Nabisco.

Entries for the cookie competition are judged on creativity, sign support and display size. Some retailers have pulled out all the stops in prior years, Collins said. While most displays are endcap-based, some stores have devoted an entire aisle or sidewall to store-brand cookies. Others have featured two displays cross promoting cookies with milk. At the promotion's end, Collins plans to write an article on the winners that will be distributed chainwide, along with photos of the winning store's managers.

"They are independents, so the pictures I get are very different. Sometimes they are wearing ties and suits. Sometimes they are on a motorcycle outside in the parking lot. It's kind of cute," Collins said.

Collins told SN he is working on another program, though he didn't elaborate.