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Retailers try new ways to showcase electronics

BY Barbara White-Sax

Drug stores are cautiously expanding their consumer electronics selections. MP3 players, digital cameras and pre-paid mobile phones are finding a place beside the more traditional mix of handheld tape players and clock radios in the channel.

Alan Wolf, senior editor at Twice magazine, said one growth avenue for drug chains could be higher-priced merchandise. “The drug channel has limited itself to commodity, value-priced items, so there may be some opportunity to step up some of those price points,” he said. Most drug chains have kept the ceiling for consumer electronics at $50; Wolf thinks they could experiment with a $100 limit.

Since price points in consumer electronics have fallen so steeply, Wolf said, it’s a good time for retailers to look at merchandise they once considered out of their price spectrum, especially top-tier branded goods. Walgreens carries a Sony portable DVD player that retails for $109.99.

Pre-paid mobile phones have become a significant category in the channel. “Mobile is the fastest-growing CE category, and pre-paid products are a great way for drug stores to expand their assortment,” Wolf said.

Inexpensive digital cameras are another opportunity. “Digital cameras have a high household penetration, and smartphones aren’t making them obsolete,” said Chris Ely, manager of industry analysis for the Consumer Electronics Association. Ely said that as drug chains shift space in photo-processing departments, more play might be given to CE.

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Topco expands to include Associated Food Stores, McLane Global

BY Allison Cerra

SKOKIE, Ill. — Associated Food Stores and McLane Global have joined Topco, the company announced Friday.

Associated Food Stores will participate in Topco’s pharmacy program, which now has 23 committed members representing more than $3.2 billion in sales volume. Meanwhile, McLane Global will take part in Topco’s frozen, dairy/bakery, HBC/GM and not-for-resale programs.

With these additions, Topco’s membership now includes 53 retail, wholesale and foodservice companies.

“We’re excited that Associated Food Stores and McLane Global are now Topco members,” Topco president and CEO Randy Skoda said. “They are both outstanding organizations whose joining further enhances the collective strength of Topco and the membership. We look forward to working with them to help drive value for their companies and customers.”

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Telebrands rolls out duster

BY Barbara White-Sax

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — Telebrands is bringing the popular Sticky Buddy roller product to retail in early May. The lint and dust remover has had strong direct-to-
consumer sales. In its first two weeks on the JW Greensheet industry report of the top 75 traditional direct response spots, the product climbed to the No. 2 position — a rate that is “extremely rare,” according to Greensheet publisher John Kogler.


Sticky Buddy will retail for $10 — a price point that generates some of the best turns in the category, according to Telebrands president AJ Khubani.

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