PROMOTIONS HERALDING RETURN OF MALLOMARS

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Winter's coming, and the Mallomars have returned to the stores as retailers welcome them back with displays and promotions.Nabisco's Mallomars -- little cakes consisting of marshmallow puffs on a cookie wafer enrobed in chocolate -- have a short window of availability, roughly from October through May, and are distributed in the Northeast and in the Tampa, Fla., area, along with

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Winter's coming, and the Mallomars have returned to the stores as retailers welcome them back with displays and promotions.

Nabisco's Mallomars -- little cakes consisting of marshmallow puffs on a cookie wafer enrobed in chocolate -- have a short window of availability, roughly from October through May, and are distributed in the Northeast and in the Tampa, Fla., area, along with a few sporadic markets throughout the country.

That makes Mallomar season a merchandising event for some supermarkets. Retailers in the Northeast told SN they are using special displays and ads to alert shoppers that the Mallomars are back.

One of the more elaborate promotions was undertaken by Wakefern Food Corp. here, the cooperative owned by ShopRite operators.

During the week of Oct. 9, ShopRite devoted almost the entire back page of its weekly four-color circular to Mallomars. They were on sale at the hot price of $1.99, and could be obtained at the even hotter price of 99 cents for shoppers who had a Price Plus frequent shopper card. ShopRite operators had special window signs proclaiming, "Mallomars are Back."

"This is a very big promotion for ShopRite, and the largest promotion we have ever run on Mallomars. Our estimate is that we're going to sell as many Mallomars this week as we normally would during the regular season," Laura McCafferty, a Wakefern spokeswoman, told SN.

"We haven't had any shortages because this was a planned event and we ordered for it. They normally retail for over $3, so even $1.99 is a hot price, and 99 cents is phenomenal."

Nabisco's suggested retail price for Mallomars is $3.19 for an 8-ounce box.

"Many of the stores did build

big displays, either at end caps or other areas where they had room. Needless to say, there are a lot of Mallomars in ShopRite this week," she continued. ShopRite also featured Nabisco SnackWells on sale at $1.99, and Honey Maid graham crackers at $2.49.

Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J., is also using special display and sale prices to welcome the Mallomars back, according to Ned Meara, corporate merchandising manager.

"We usually have a very large display at a reduced price as they become available. People's palates are geared to that.

"We're also using areas up near the checkout to display the Mallomars. It is something a little unusual that we are trying. We have been having great success with it, and have used it with other items, like Drake's cakes," he added.

Other retailers are also giving the dome-like cookies the spotlight.

"This year we are aggressively promoting Mallomars in our circular, and, where we can, we are using in-store displays," said Mary Moore, director, public affairs, D'Agostino Supermarkets, Larchmont, N.Y.

Joseph Azzolina, president of Food Circus Super Markets, Middletown, N.J., said his company will give Nabisco a free hand in the promotion. "Whatever they do, we always give them an end cap to promote in most of the stores, and their service is excellent."

Mallomars are available only in the cooler months of the year because the cookies' pure chocolate coating doesn't hold up well in summer heat and humidity.