SUPERMARKETS MOVE INTO DVD SELL-THROUGH

Encouraged by their success renting DVDs, supermarkets are gradually moving into sell-through."We're having pretty good luck with the sales of DVD," said Craig Hill, video specialist, Harp's Food Stores, Springdale, Ark. "I'm hoping they stay at that good sale price."Hill said a key to Harp's DVD sales is video managers who are interested enough in the product to push it. "Once the customers rent

Encouraged by their success renting DVDs, supermarkets are gradually moving into sell-through.

"We're having pretty good luck with the sales of DVD," said Craig Hill, video specialist, Harp's Food Stores, Springdale, Ark. "I'm hoping they stay at that good sale price."

Hill said a key to Harp's DVD sales is video managers who are interested enough in the product to push it. "Once the customers rent the product, they say, 'Hey, wouldn't you like to own it. You can buy it for $19."' Harp's video departments carry more than 50 titles for rent and offer the top 10 titles for sale, he said.

"We try to stay up on what comes out each month," said Laura Fisher, video coordinator, Martin's Super Markets, South Bend, Ind. "We'll pick the top DVD titles and make sure we have them for rental and sell-through," she said.

"I think the sell-through of DVD will get stronger," said Brenda Vanover, director of video operations, K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va., "With the price of the machines coming down, more people are going to buy them and we are going to start with some sell-through titles," she said.

Seaway Food Town, Maumee, Ohio, is trying 24-piece shippers of "Titanic," but movement has not been what Darlene Kiefer, services coordinator, would like. "I'm not sure if it is because that title is played out or if it is because people don't have the players yet," she said. Source tagging on Checkpoint, the security system which Seaway Food Town has and most studios have not embraced, remains an issue, she said.

"We believe that demand for DVD to own is going to increase dramatically over the next 10 to 12 months," said Bill Bryant, vice president, sales, grocery and drug, Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.

Pricing competition is keeping other retailers from getting into DVD sales.

"There are too many competitors that low ball the prices," said Bob Gettner, video buyer/coordinator, B&R Stores, Lincoln, Neb. "We will probably just continue on with special orders for now. Unless the prices fall, we probably won't get into it for sell-through," he said.

"Many of our guests come in to rent DVD before they buy it," said Maria Boye, video buyer, Angeli's, Iron River, Mich. "But they buy it from the bigger chain stores. We haven't seen a big enough difference between what they can get it for at the big chain stores and what we can offer it to them for sale," she said.

Return policies are an obstacle to selling DVD at Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis, said Clifford Feiock, video coordinator. "Our biggest problem is most of the studios are not offering very good guaranteed sale privileges on the sell-through side of DVD. We are still working on some assortments of product where we can get a guaranteed sale and back-up support," he said.