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STAR MARKETS, PRICE CHOPPER EYE HIGH-END STICK GOODS

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Star Markets here and Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., are contemplating adding high-fashion stick goods and cleaning accessories to their housewares mix.Last fall the chains began merchandising Casabella plastic buckets and basins in lavender, mint green, white translucent and blue fashion shades. The items are being supplied by Kaminstein Imports, Blauvelt, N.Y.,

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Star Markets here and Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y., are contemplating adding high-fashion stick goods and cleaning accessories to their housewares mix.

Last fall the chains began merchandising Casabella plastic buckets and basins in lavender, mint green, white translucent and blue fashion shades. The items are being supplied by Kaminstein Imports, Blauvelt, N.Y., confirmed the vendor. Both chains declined to comment on their plans to expand their offerings.

However, according to Rick Sadofsky, Kaminstein's grocery account manager, the two chains are considering the vendor's stick goods for the new year. This would follow the lead of other supermarkets that in the past several months have taken on Casabella stick goods and small cleaning implements line to compete with specialty housewares stores, said Sadofsky. These chains include Grand Union Co.; Wegmans Food Markets; King's Super Markets; King Kullen Grocery Co.; Giant Food Stores; and A&P's Waldbaum's, Super Fresh and Food Emporium.

"Wegmans was the first food chain to carry Casabella. The chain was looking for more margin dollars and wanted to make these products available to customers who shopped for these items at stores like Linens & Things," said Sadofsky.

Food Emporium, Montvale, N.J., began chainwide merchandising of Casabella cleaning tools in hunter green and cobalt blue three years ago, said Sadofsky.

Some chains highlight selected products from the 40-item stick goods assortment as in-and-out shipper promotions or on endcaps, the vendor said. "This can be a foam-headed broom, priced at $9.99, which statically attracts pet hairs, dirt and dust, or a curved broom in a cup design that directs dirt to the center for $7.99," he explained.

"Last March, Giant Food Stores did great and moved $100,000 in shippers of buckets and stick goods," said the supplier.

The chains display the long-handled tools, plastic containers and small wares on 2-foot to 4-foot wide sets using gondola shelving, bins and pegs. Items come in black and white packaging. Products like dust pans and buckets and basins are ribboned together in like colors.

The line is priced between $1.99 and $17.99. Margins are in the 50% to 60% range. The styles and colors complement the chains' everyday set, which continues to generate the bulk of sales, said Sadofsky.

Kaminstein supplies the products through rack jobbers and in cross-docking arrangements.

He said plastic pails and buckets are priced competitively with lines like Rubbermaid. Price Chopper sold lavender and green plastic pails with yellow handles for $8.88. Some retails on stick goods, feather and wool dusters are priced 10% to 15% higher than regular goods.

Among the top-selling items at New York-area food chains that carry higher-priced merchandise is a dust pan with a long chrome handle and matching broom, priced at $9.99. "The dust pan has a department store look and you don't have to bend to use it," said Murray Applebaum, president of Ardsley, N.Y.-based service merchandiser Selecto Corp.