LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Harvest Foods here is seeking to grow general merchandise sales with aggressive year-round price promotions. The chain intends to become a much more forceful general merchandise competitor by cutting prices up to 30% on promotional items, thus stemming the flow of its nonfood sales to large discounters, said Randy Martin, sales promotion coordinator.
"We want to keep more general merchandise sales in our store instead of seeing them go to the Wal-Marts of the world," said Martin. "We're offering lower retails that are pretty close to Wal-Mart." Martin added retail price points overall in featured items will be "close enough so our customers won't have to drive to Wal-Mart."
To support its lower prices, the retailer has carved out a new year-long general merchandise promotion calendar, designed primarily to enhance sales and shelf turns, and spark consistently stronger shopper interest in the overall category.
"We're looking at many different general merchandise areas with the idea of getting the best cost possible to enable us to better compete," added Martin.
In formulating its new general merchandise stance, Harvest is gearing to unleash aggressive spring and summer promotions, with additional ones penciled in right on through the rest of the year.
Items to be highlighted this year will include kitchen plastics and utensils, food storage containers, barbecue tools and accessories, plasticware, outdoor furniture and dollar day promotions.
Harvest is also planning on making a stronger general merchandise statement in print ads and in-store merchandising, using increased ad activity.
"We'll be doing a lot more general merchandise advertising throughout the year, as we'll have something for each season, in summer and Halloween and into Christmas."
A new general merchandise promotion calendar will encompass "quite a bit more, or 50% more than last year. We're planning things right on through the year to give general merchandise greater visibility."
General merchandise products are received at Harvest's warehouse, mostly in a cross-docking program. "The variety will now be wider than in the past, with promotions offered on new gondolas now set up at the front of stores in lobby areas."