SUPERMARKET EXECUTIVES TO GATHER AT VSDA BREAKFAST

LAS VEGAS -- For the second consecutive year, supermarket executives will gather for an exclusive breakfast during the Video Software Dealers Association Convention, which will be held here July 9 to 12.Sponsored by Universal Studios Home Video, Universal City, Calif., and hosted by the VSDA, Los Angeles, and SN, New York, it will take place Friday, July 11, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. at the Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- For the second consecutive year, supermarket executives will gather for an exclusive breakfast during the Video Software Dealers Association Convention, which will be held here July 9 to 12.

Sponsored by Universal Studios Home Video, Universal City, Calif., and hosted by the VSDA, Los Angeles, and SN, New York, it will take place Friday, July 11, from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The event is by invitation only.

The program will consist of presentations by Universal, the VSDA and SN, and will include the opportunity to network with other supermarket retailers. It is believed to be the largest such gathering of supermarket video executives on a national basis.

The breakfast meeting will be highlighted by a presentation by Universal on fourth-quarter products and promotional opportunities, said Andrew Kairey, executive vice president of Universal Studios Home Video. "My goal for the event is to continue to establish relationships with those in the supermarket industry, to communicate our continued support and to give some insights as to what the future of Universal holds," he said.

"We will look at fourth-quarter opportunities that we have and how those can be parlayed into store-specific promotions," he said. These promotions might include licensed products that could be customized for the retailer, a tie-in with products that are already carried by the store or customized third-party cross promotions, said Kairey.

This kind of promotion does not have to be limited to hit titles, but could involve catalog products and titles recently repriced from the rental market, he noted. "As we get further into the repriced business, it becomes so substantial and so much larger, unique promotional opportunities are possible," he said.

In SN's presentation, David Merrefield, vice president, executive editor and associate publisher, will speak on "the major trends affecting the food retailing industry and how those trends can best be put to work to support the profitability of video in supermarkets," he said.

One such trend is home-meal replacement programs, which supermarkets are launching to capture more consumer spending on prepared foods, and how they can be cross promoted with video, he said. Another is the Efficient Consumer Response initiative "and how video can be a key component in making sure that retail space is used to its prime advantage," said Merrefield.

"The bottom line is to learn about the category, what's ahead for the category in terms of product, and also how the whole activity fits strategic directions driving food retailing," he said.

The VSDA will use the breakfast to inform retailers about how the association can help them through its programs and services, said Kimbirly Orr, director of sales. It will also be an opportunity to introduce the VSDA's new director of membership, Gary Rautenberg. Until a recent change in duties, Orr was the membership director. She was principally responsible for launching the first supermarket breakfast last year.

According to exit surveys done at last year's event, 80% asked the VSDA to do the breakfast again, she said. "That was the driving force in putting this on our convention calendar," Orr added.

While the formal presentations were valuable to the retailers attending, the opportunity to network was the most important aspect of the program, the survey showed."People really enjoyed the opportunity to sit with their peers and talk about what was going on in each other's local markets," said Orr.

Rautenberg will make a presentation about the association, Orr said. "VSDA's mission is strictly about communication, education and legislation," she noted.

While attendance at the breakfast is by invitation only, retailers who would like more information about it can call Rautenberg at (818) 385-1500, ext. 256.