TOPS CIRCULAR INSERT TUNES IN TO SELL-THROUGH

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tops Friendly Markets here dedicated a four-page section of its chainwide circular to a sell-through video insert last week.While the 115-store Ahold subsidiary has run sections like this in the past, according to a source within the company, this was the first time they ran on behalf of the more than 40 Finast Friendly Markets stores in northeast Ohio. Finast and Tops were merged

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tops Friendly Markets here dedicated a four-page section of its chainwide circular to a sell-through video insert last week.

While the 115-store Ahold subsidiary has run sections like this in the past, according to a source within the company, this was the first time they ran on behalf of the more than 40 Finast Friendly Markets stores in northeast Ohio. Finast and Tops were merged last year by Ahold. Since then Finast stores of all sizes have been building up their video displays and promotions.

"We get a huge lift in our volume when we do the insert," said the source. All stores will carry inventory for the promotion, which includes 27 different video titles or lines of products from 10 suppliers, some bought on a direct basis.

Depending on space and other considerations, stores will merchandise the products differently. Some will put it on an endcap, while others will incorporate it into their 20-foot in-line sell-through sections.

"We allow displays on the sales floor, so we also will support it in that way. Each store does its own thing," said the source.

Tops has established itself as a destination for sell-through video in New York and is trying to do the same in Ohio, the source said. "In western New York, we are known for videos. When people think about buying a 'Liar Liar' they don't think of Blockbuster, they think of Tops. We're very, very competitive, and our selection is among the best around. The pricing is good and they know we will have it in stock."

The four-page insert was in the center of the chain's 24-page weekly circular that was distributed on Sunday, Oct. 19, in major newspapers in its trading areas. Titled "Fall Video Sale," prices in the ad were good through Nov. 1.

The front cover highlighted Disney's re-release of the animated movie "The Jungle Book" at the minimum advertised price of $16.95. Prominent were details about the $5 mail-in rebate from Kid Cuisine. Also featured on the cover was "Alice In Wonderland," priced at $15.95, which is also involved in the Kid Cuisine offer.

The back highlighted the Warner movie "Batman & Robin," due to street two days after the ad hit, Oct. 21. The title also was priced at MAP, $14.95. Highlighting $5 mail-in rebates from Fuji film and Duracell batteries, the ad netted the price down to $4.95. Another Oct. 21 release from Warner, "Wild America," priced at $14.95, and instant coupons on Warner videos also were on the page.