Retailers See Win In 'Biggest Loser'

Retailers are hoping to win with The Biggest Loser. While many categories have taken a hit from the economy, a hit TV show that emphasizes health and wellness could provide a sales lift during the traditional sales season for fitness products in January. Among many other supermarket companies, Bashas', Chandler, Ariz., and Coborn's, St. Cloud, Minn., will offer a promotion in that period based on

Retailers are hoping to win with “The Biggest Loser.”

While many categories have taken a hit from the economy, a hit TV show that emphasizes health and wellness could provide a sales lift during the traditional sales season for fitness products in January.

Among many other supermarket companies, Bashas', Chandler, Ariz., and Coborn's, St. Cloud, Minn., will offer a promotion in that period based on 11 licensed products from the hit NBC TV reality weight-loss series, “The Biggest Loser.” The items include a DVD, stability balls, resistance cords and mats.

This month the retailers are selling aluminum water bottles, emphasizing that they do not contain the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, found in plastic bottles, which is suspected of being hazardous to people. The 750 ml bottles sell for $14.98 for a flip-top version and $12.98 for a screw-top.

All are sold from corrugated in-and-out displays and are supplied by Gaiam, Boulder, Colo., which through its Newmark Media arm also supplies books, magazines, DVDs and yoga supplies to supermarkets.

“With the involvement with ‘The Biggest Loser,’ we feel those products are going to be great additions to our store,” said Jayson Mead, Bashas' category manager of natural and organic foods.

Bashas' will carry “The Biggest Loser” promotion, now has the aluminum water bottles, and is shifting its endcap display of other Gaiam products to a more versatile, rolling rack, Mead said.

Coborn's is gradually expanding its offering of the health and wellness products as it opens new stores with natural food departments, said Joseph Cool, category manager for natural food, ethnic food and DSD. The retailer also has the bottles and will run the TV show promotion.

“Aluminum and stainless steel bottles are trendy right now,” he told SN. Coborn's previously carried some ‘Biggest Loser’ items with moderate success. However, Cool said the show “is getting more and more popular and I think there will be some sales potential when that program comes out.”

As to the category's growth, he said, “As we open new stores that have self-contained natural food departments, we always add those offerings.

“This is definitely a good piece of our business and I'd like to see it continue going forward. It gives our customer something new and exciting, while giving us something to promote within the department. Gaiam usually tries to stay current with trends,” Cool said.