ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Kowalski's Market here has assembled an assortment of toys, stuffed animals and children's books in a Kid's Area that's generating high-ticket action.
Set at the rear center of the Inver Grove store, Kid's Area merchandise is priced from $1 for small plastic trucks to $125 for large plush bears. "The products are doing well and appeal to the many families with young children," said Mark Wachter, senior buyer and visual merchandiser for the five-store retailer. The White Bear Lake location also contains a Kid's Area.
Besides plush animals, the selection includes everything from night-lights to toy reproductions from the 1930s. There are Just Ducky rubber dresser-top lamps for about $50; wind-up toy reproductions such as a mama duck with two baby ducks behind her, priced at $12; and Curious George Yo-yos that retail for $2. "All are moving off the shelf," said Wachter. A high-priced bear was purchased soon after the section was launched in September, he said.
In addition to a child's table and chairs, the Kid's Area uses antique chests, hutches, trunks and wooden boxes for displaying some of the 100 different products in the department. The retailer works on a 50% margin on sales.
Kid's Area is not a supervised baby-sitting area for parents to drop off their tots while shopping, said the retailer. It's a department where everything is on sale, from the toys and kids' books to the antique pieces procured from dealers.
The idea for the department came after the retailer had experienced continued strong sell-through of children's toys, plush and similar items. "Every item we've brought in -- toys, books, stickers and plush animals -- is selling really well," Wachter said.
The department is supplied by Department 56, an Eden Prairie, Minn., nonfood distributor. A Kid's Area is planned for Kowalski's next store in Woodbury, slated to open in the spring.