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An Eye for Merchandising

Food Lion's Bloom has only been in the full service seafood business for four and a half years, but it appears that the retailer has gotten some key things down in seafood merchandising. "Focal point merchandising," "less is more" and "excited sales associates" were phrases Cecil Smith, manager of seafood merchandising and training, Bloom, used more than once in the Seafood Marketplace seminar.

"We hope to deliver compelling case sets designed to deliver quality and communicate value in full service, self-service, packaged, and frozen formats," Smith said. "In each case, we have a focal point planned to drive quality, value, and/or price impression."

Bloom started focal point merchandising in 2008. When the seminar attendees took a walk down to the show floor to take a look at the Seafood Marketplace merchandising displays, Smith pointed out two fresh cases with a whole fish in each. Cuts that came from that fish were arranged around it in a compelling way as an example of focal point merchandising.

“It can also help you with allocation and what you want to do with each item and really giving that consumer something to look at in the case and directing them to look at something you want them to look at," Smith said. "Allocation is determined by the delivery goal of each item: quality, value, price impression, or a combination."

Easy to follow and execute merchandising notes are also important to provide store managers with, and weekly planograms have been tremendously successful for Bloom. In addition, seasonal themes and active selling in front of service cases with excited store associates behind it all is key.

Bloom also reduced its finfish SKU count by 50% and shellfish by 33% and saw increased sales over the previous year and decreased shrink, Smith said.

“We changed up what we were doing in seafood and focused on what customers really wanted to buy since people started to pull back on their money,” Smith said, adding that the cases were easier to shop and consumers actually thought more variety was being offered.