ROSAUERS' NONFOOD RESETS EXPECTED TO HIKE SALES 15% TO 20%

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rosauers Supermarkets here is slowly revamping targeted nonfood departments by enlarging space, adding variety and adjusting retails. The chain projects it will boost nonfood sales by 15% to 20%.Although Rosauers has had a food-and-drug format since the 1960s, "we're moving 'back' into nonfood in a more meaningful way," said Bill Haraldson, executive vice president and chief operating

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rosauers Supermarkets here is slowly revamping targeted nonfood departments by enlarging space, adding variety and adjusting retails. The chain projects it will boost nonfood sales by 15% to 20%.

Although Rosauers has had a food-and-drug format since the 1960s, "we're moving 'back' into nonfood in a more meaningful way," said Bill Haraldson, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Health and beauty care and general merchandise now represent 12.5% of total store sales.

The three departments to get a makeover include pet care, lightbulbs and hair color.

In pet care, the retailer will focus on pet accessories in order to position the chain to become more competitive with super pet stores and mass merchants, said Haraldson.

By summer's end, pet supply sets will have more than doubled to up to 20 feet of selling area from the current 4 to 12 feet of space. The expanded variety will include a larger selection of bulk chew products, which the retailer views as a major addition to the pet supply assortment.

Rosauers plans to carve a bigger market share in lightbulbs, "an area we let go of over the years to the mass merchandisers, which we'll no longer allow to happen," asserted Haraldson.

Last month the retailer switched to Sylvania as its lightbulb supplier to improve the presentation for its lighting centers. The lighting sets are being remerchandised with back-lit picture frame headers that put more visual emphasis on the products. Installation of the new sets will be complete this month.

The departments are being enlarged from 8 feet to 12- to 16-foot sets. "We lowered our costs for prices to be where they should be so that we can get back in that ballgame," explained Haraldson.

At one time the chain merchandised lightbulbs in this size range. "However, we let the mass merchandisers [sort of] dictate our footage. But with a trimmed-back section customers no longer believed we had the bulb variety they needed," the retailer stressed.

Rosauers is also remerchandising hair colorings and doubling the section to 8-foot sets at all stores by the end of this month. It's a category Haraldson is convinced "will draw a lot of consumer interest as the baby boomer market takes firmer hold. People are more vain and they don't want to turn gray," he said.

After a six-month test of the new configuration at six stores about six months ago hair coloring sales jumped more than 60%.

The test involved carrying about 90% of the hair colorings mass merchandisers carry and pricing them within 10% of the mass merchants.

Rosauers boosted its hair-coloring stockkeeping units 15% for a more complete offering and introduced color swatches for shoppers to see the different colors available. Tear-off $1 and $2 coupons on selected hair coloring were placed at the gondola and promoted in weekly store fliers.

Rather than waiting until all the department realignments are completed, Rosauers will kick off each newly formatted section with a sales campaign as soon as each is done.