PEGS BAGGING SALES BEYOND CANDY AISLES

The candy aisle isn't the only home for pegged goods these days.An increasing amount of hanging bags are being brought into other areas of the store to capture shoppers' attention -- not to mention impulse sales.Supermarket retailers have long understood the importance of placing candy in several areas throughout the store.Barrels of count goods, lobby displays of seasonal items and spinner racks

The candy aisle isn't the only home for pegged goods these days.

An increasing amount of hanging bags are being brought into other areas of the store to capture shoppers' attention -- not to mention impulse sales.

Supermarket retailers have long understood the importance of placing candy in several areas throughout the store.

Barrels of count goods, lobby displays of seasonal items and spinner racks of chocolate bars are common sights on the perimeter of the store.

But now, retailers are getting more creative with hanging bags.

"Display is very important because candy's so impulsive," said Grant MacLean, candy buyer at Rosauers Supermarkets, Spokane, Wash.

The most effective way to generate pegged candy sales is to get an off-shelf display, such as a spinner tree, and place it away from the primary confection area, he said.

For example, Rosauers separates Hershey's 5-ounce pegged bags from its larger bags to help get multiple sales, MacLean said. The same is done with candy from M&M/Mars.

"We don't want to trade them down to those sizes from the bigger laydown sizes. We just want to put them in secondary locations, like power panels, to increase the impulse sale," he said.

Steve Waliga, category manager at Harvest Foods, Little Rock, Ark., concurred. "On any confection, multiple displays throughout the store will help increase sales because candy is an impulse item," he said.

Thrifty Foods, Burlington, Wash., also advocates multiple displays for hanging bags, said Kent Bolander, candy merchandiser.

Pegged candy is easier to get into impulse areas because it doesn't occupy a lot of space, he said. "You can put a large selection in a small amount of space," Bolander said.

Side-kick displays and power panels placed near the front end offer the best opportunities for getting the consumer's attention, he said. "Get some of those products in your checkstand merchandising program," he added.

The checkstand provides a visible area that's accessible to both consumers and employees, supermarket operators said.

MacLean of Rosauers said he brought in a pegged candy company specifically for the register area. "I don't look at it as taking away from the hanging bag section. I look at it as somebody's standing in the checkstand, they need a candy fix and they grab [a bag]," he said.

"It's a last-minute impulse sale and it supplements whatever is in the candy aisle," MacLean added.

Maintaining a pegged line in the standard candy gondola is crucial to sales, but promotions in the checkstand area are effective as well, said Rich Ziegler, grocery sales director at Larry's Markets, Seattle.

A Virginia-based chain displays a mix-and-match variety of 10-ounce pegged bags in dump bins throughout its stores, according to a buyer, who didn't want to be identified. Price is the common denominator when the stores decide how to merchandise pegged candy products. "We usually group [items] by price points," said the buyer.

The price of hanging bags contributes to the overall appeal to consumers and to grocery retailers. Retailers make a 30% to 35% profit margin on pegged, and shoppers believe they are getting a good value.

Harvest Foods' Waliga said consumers are drawn to the value pricing associated with pegged lines. "You are getting a little bit more for your money for the price. For the retailer, it's a little higher cash register ring vs. a 50-cent candy bar," he added.

Other retailers agreed that price drives the majority of sales. "The appeal is that it's a price item. Also, [consumers] can buy several different flavors for the price of a larger bag," said Mark Polsky, senior vice president of Magruder, Rockville, Md.

Ingles Markets, Black Mountain, N.C., replaced its pegged line manufacturer with five others, according to Jimmy Jones, grocery buyer. Now it stocks one that carries a 2-for-$1 price tag.

"If you've got two for a buck on [the bag], it helps consumers' impulse to pick it up," Jones added.