STAR HIGHLIGHTS ITS 'CHOICE' FOR PRESIDENTS' DAY EVENT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Star Market Co. here is one of the retailers saluting Presidents' Day by having a sale on President's Choice premium private-label products.The promotion at Star broke last week and is running through this week. To encourage sales, Star is participating in a nationwide sales and display contest for the popular President's Choice cookie and soft drink lines, said sources close to

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Star Market Co. here is one of the retailers saluting Presidents' Day by having a sale on President's Choice premium private-label products.

The promotion at Star broke last week and is running through this week. To encourage sales, Star is participating in a nationwide sales and display contest for the popular President's Choice cookie and soft drink lines, said sources close to the company. Officials at Star could not be reached for comment about the promotion.

"At Star there are major end-aisle displays and also lobby displays," said a source close to the company, who did not want to be identified. "There will be product sampling, mostly of the cookies. Some stores are doing sampling of the [President's Choice] Decadent ice cream."

The source noted that in past years Star merchandised President's Choice by having mockups of actual presidents in the aisles.

"This year it is trying to keep the aisles clear to have a better presentation," the source said, adding that Star is advertising the promotion through newspaper ads.

In the United States, President's Choice is offered to retailers on a market-exclusive basis. Officials at West Seneca, N.Y.-based President's Choice International, a division of Loblaw Cos., Toronto, could not be reached for comment, but one source close to the company told SN the Presidents' Day promotion has expanded considerably from last year.

"Last year about four chains participated, and this year it is just about everybody," he said.

"Overall, this will be the biggest event of the year. New this year will be the display and sales contest, which varies by retailer and has various rewards, including round-trip airfare for two and President's Choice premiums, like jackets and gift certificates. Most of the chains are rallying around it with in-store demos," the source said.

Ruth Kinzey, corporate communications manager at Harris Teeter, Charlotte, N.C., said at her chain President's Choice products have historically performed well around Presidents' Day. Last year Harris Teeter witnessed an "excellent" increase over typical weekly sales, Kinzey said.

"The President's Choice Presidents' Day Sale will be supported by our weekly newspaper advertisements. We will also use our other usual methods for special promotions, such as endcap displays, specific shelf tag signage, store-front displays and even demos," she said.

"With the President's Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookie being a favorite of our customers, this is one of the items we will be featuring. There will also be a wide range of products, including produce items, beverages and dry grocery," Kinzey added.

Officials at Tops Markets, Buffalo, N.Y., did not return calls seeking comment about how they were merchandising President's Choice for Presidents' Day, but one upstate New York observer said Tops had launched a four-page tab pullout to its weekly circular, compared with an in-store piece that was distributed last year.

Like other retailers, Tops is heavily promoting its Presidents' Day event with radio and other media, as well as in-store displays.