GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores, based here, is introducing new Kitchen Gallery sets to spur housewares sales at its 450-member stores.
Kitchen Gallery planograms, which contain some 297 stockkeeping units, began going into stores last month. According to Kevin Nicholas, Spartan's general merchandise buyer, the new sets were developed to generate higher impulse turns.
"The format is a store-within-a-store concept and a destination that offers upscale choices," said Nicholas. Goods such as Bunn coffee makers are priced up to $89.99. The wholesaler projects 25% higher housewares sales for retailers. The program is slated to be in all stores by Sept 1.
"We expect the 'new, fresh look' to catch the consumer's eye," said Nicholas. Depending upon store size, there are several schematics for the Kitchen Galley. Larger stores, 35,000 to 40,000 square feet, can devote 52 feet of space to the department. Modified planograms are available for smaller units. A header sign will identify the housewares section, which is usually positioned in the baking aisle at most retailers, the buyer said.
Items, including kitchen tools and gadgets, appliances, food storage, cookware and glass bakeware are displayed in white wire baskets, on shelves and hung from J-hooks.
Within the set, 8 feet are devoted to appliances, including coffeemakers, toasters, irons, water-filtration products, replacement decanter pots, crock pots, frying pans, vaporizers, alarm clocks, radios, curling irons, humidifiers and hair curlers.
Spartan also is introducing an 8-foot, freestanding metro rack that can be cross merchandised near the deli, food-preparation area or meat department, said Nicholas.
He said the rack's "very upscale tools can be used if there is a [food] demo going on and you want to tie in with the quality items."
The rack is stocked with an assortment of Farberware and Progressive items. The mix ranges from stainless steel cookware, citrus juicers, oil and vinegar containers and scales to smaller products like can openers, spatulas, garlic and cheese graters and bagel cutters. Merchandise is priced from $1.99 for a peeler and goes up to $12.99 for a granite utility cutting board.
Spartan is keeping kitchen implements updated by reviewing Bradshaw's everyday program and pulling out the slow-moving items, Nicholas explained. The everyday mix has been updated with larger handle tools. "It is an important consideration in meeting the needs of two-worker families," the buyer said.
"We wanted to bring in new style trends like [heftier] tool handles to update the department. Both males and females now do the cooking and so you need to carry what the consumers want. Housewares is a totally changed category, and [consumers] with higher disposable income are willing to spend a little more," Nicholas added.
He said the amount of new housewares products exhibited at the International Housewares Show last month was an indication of the need for supermarkets to keep their products updated.
"There were tons of new items at the Housewares Show, and if you don't stay current you're going to drive customers to other retailers.
"Even basic, everyday items like rolling pins and spatulas will begin to show up in different colors, with larger handles or different grips," the wholesaler stressed.
Spartan's Kitchen Gallery program also provides for a separate, movable 4-foot display of children's juice holders, sipping cups and mugs that can be arranged at an endcap or in the cereal, toy or juice aisle.
In conjunction with the new program, Spartan intends to step up its housewares promotions "to drive the category," said the buyer. He said several highly successful promotions last year included free lasagna noodles, sauce and cheese with the purchase of a chili pot with strainer, priced at $15.99.
Shoppers also received free pizza crust mix, sauce, pepperoni, shredded cheese, green peppers and onions with the purchase of a pizza stone, priced at $13.99. Free waffles, bagels and margarine were given to those buying toasters for $15.99.