ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Busch's Valu Land here expects to push sales of its Christmas cookies up by at least 10% simply by displaying them earlier this year.
The cookies took their place in bakery department displays Nov. 8, about three weeks earlier than in the past, said Dan Courser, vice president of perishables, at the nine-unit, upscale independent.
The four types of from-scratch cookies that Busch's categorizes as Christmas or holiday cookies have previously made their annual debut the day after Thanksgiving, Courser said.
"We're doing this early to capture more sales, as other retailers are with holiday products. Look at the shopping malls. They're merchandising for Christmas as early as October," Courser added.
"We're expecting a 10% to 15% increase in sales of these cookies -- our macaroons, which are very popular; our butter cookies and even the large cookies in shapes of Christmas trees and sleighs and the shortbread cookies that are iced and decorated with colored sprinkles," he said.
Courser said he doesn't think their seasonality will keep the cookies from selling in early November.
"These cookies aren't just eaten on Christmas day. Halloween candy is not all eaten on Halloween. It's the three or four weeks prior to the holidays, too. People are having more parties and having them earlier. Businesses have Christmas parties as early as Nov. 15," he said.
Busch's displayed the cookies and offered tastes of them at its annual "Taste of the Holidays" event, set this year for Nov. 8 and 9. The event features staffed demo stations in each department to bring customers' attention to holiday products offered at Busch's.
A table display in the bakery department includes all four varieties of cookies packed in gold foil, windowed boxes, Courser said. The macaroons and butter cookies are $3.99 a dozen. The shortbreads are $3.49 a dozen. And large sugar cookies that measure almost 5 inches tall, and are cut in tree, sleigh and Santa Claus shapes, are $2.99 for six, he said.
Courser said that on a busy Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the retailer moves 400 to 500 dozen of the seasonal cookies.
The first week of December, Busch's will feature the cookies in its ad at a reduced price, but after that, they'll be put back to their regular retail price, Courser said, the same as in past years.