VALU MERCHANDISERS PLANS TO STOCK MORE KITCHENS SHOPS

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Valu Merchandisers, the nonfood subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers here, plans to expand its kitchen shop format to 10 more retailers, said Dick Swain, the company's executive vice president.The store-within-a-store format, called Chef's Table, was first introduced last October to three stores. Swain reported the 40- to 120-foot sections are doing well. "We're also moving

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Valu Merchandisers, the nonfood subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers here, plans to expand its kitchen shop format to 10 more retailers, said Dick Swain, the company's executive vice president.

The store-within-a-store format, called Chef's Table, was first introduced last October to three stores. Swain reported the 40- to 120-foot sections are doing well. "We're also moving forward with more upscale items that are priced halfway between department stores and supermarkets," he said.

The Chef's Table assortment features items found in kitchen specialty shops. The planogram includes a broad range of kitchen implements, from gadgets and bakeware to cookware and tools, priced up to $39. There are also small kitchen appliances like toasters, water-purification systems and boxed goods in the mix. Signage, overhead and indirect lighting set the section apart, giving it a store-within-a-store presentation.

It is designed to trigger impulse sales, said Swain, who is also chairman of the board at the General Merchandise Distributors Council, Colorado Springs, Colo. "We're trying to make the shopping experience less mundane and more exciting by giving the customer something new," he added.

Swain said housewares sales in the supermarket are being helped by some of "the new looks in soft-handle products and stainless-steel implements, giving customers a chance to buy these while they are still in the supermarket."