ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. -- As the pumpkin pie season started off this year, Gooding's Supermarkets here focused in on cakes instead.
A large color photo of decorated layer cakes dominated a bakery ad in the chain's Thanksgiving week circular, for example.
The quarter-page ad was headlined "Thanksgiving Bakery." One round cake was decorated to look like it had stylized turkey feathers radiating out from its center.
Officials at the chain's corporate office here could not be reached for comment.
Industry sources said that while it's unusual to devote so much ad space to cakes in a Thanksgiving or Christmas ad, it is nonetheless a good idea to focus on high-profit cakes as part of a strategy to maximize the bottom line during the holiday selling season.
"Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are the best selling seasons in the bakery, so why not push your most profitable items?" said Carl Richardson, bakery consultant based in Rochester, Mich., who works with supermarkets. "Even the ad space, I think, is a good idea," said Richardson, who was formerly a bakery executive with Farmer Jack Supermarkets, Detroit, the 97-unit division of A&P, Montvale, N.J. "We sold a lot of cakes during the holidays."
Richardson added that cake sales are getting better at supermarkets, as more mothers go out to work. "They might come to the store for a pumpkin pie and also pick up a cake for the kids. They're treating their kids more these days," Richardson said.
Another consultant and former retailer said he recommends vigorous in-store merchandising to sell cakes during the holidays.
"Pushing cakes to improve the bottom line should be a goal, and you can create a signature with them. But I'd concentrate on using displays, cross-merchandising and signage," said Rob Doehler, president of Doehler Food Friends, a consulting firm based in Steep Falls, Maine. He was formerly a bakery executive at Hannaford Bros., Scarborough, Maine.