ROUNDY'S NEARS END OF GADGET MIX REVAMP

MILWAUKEE -- Roundy's is completing a major remerchandising of kitchen gadgets and bakeware for 700 retailers it supplies with nonfood products.Sales in gadgets alone have jumped 25% to 30% at stores with the new program, which Roundy's began to roll out last March, said Dave Bowne, corporate director of general merchandise. Remerchandising has been completed at all but a few of the retailer-distributor's

MILWAUKEE -- Roundy's is completing a major remerchandising of kitchen gadgets and bakeware for 700 retailers it supplies with nonfood products.

Sales in gadgets alone have jumped 25% to 30% at stores with the new program, which Roundy's began to roll out last March, said Dave Bowne, corporate director of general merchandise. Remerchandising has been completed at all but a few of the retailer-distributor's stores.

Remerchandising the two categories involved both vendor and line changes, resulting in an additional 45 stockkeeping units in the gadgets section and four new SKUs in the bakeware assortment. The greater variety has produced a 220-SKU gadgets section and a 22-SKU bakeware department.

In bakeware, rather than stocking merchandise flat on a shelf, retailers installed angled shelving to better display the items and improve the overall visual presentation.

With this new merchandising display "a customer walks into the housewares aisle and now can see the product clearly [displayed]," said Bowne.

He mentioned that the prior method of display was unappealing and not effective when, for example, a stack of cookie sheets was laid flat on a shelf with only its ends displayed.

Bowne said, "Sales [in general] have been extraordinarily good," although the company still is compiling sales figures for the bakeware category.

"The shift in lines resulted in a fresher, newer appearance in the whole gadgets and bakeware categories," said Bowne.

The new merchandising presentations have given the selections more appeal at retail, Bowne noted. "Retail appeal is the whole game in general merchandise, and anything that can

be done to stop the shopper is the objective."

Gadgets is a high-impulse category, therefore it is in constant need of change and updating, Bowne said. "Every so often it needs a slightly different twist -- either as a change in presentation, a new line, color, packaging or style. This is crucial to the success [of the categories] at a supermarket."

The general merchandise executive noted,"The idea is if they buy one new style, they will buy other items to match."

He said the gadgets and bakeware assortment is equal to that found at a discount store, and retail prices "run close to Wal-Mart and Kmart."

Gadgets, all in a pegged presentation as before, continue in a $1.50 to $3.50 price range, while bakeware retails are under $10.