17502 Fri, 12/11/2009 - 3:31pm
By Andrea Lillo
The fourth quarter will be the season of great buys in cookware, to complement the season of cooking, baking, entertaining and eating.
Retailers are planning to hit consumers heavy and early with advertising, promotions and discounts. Free shipping for purchases over a certain amount are standard at most retailers. Meanwhile, bonus items in cookware sets have gone beyond the traditional utensil sets, with some worth more than half of the price of the set.
Adding to sales in the category is the fact that consumers continue to buy cookware in this economy, as more of them stay home to entertain or eat.
“Cookware’s surviving in this economy,” said Hugh Rushing, executive vice president, Cookware Manufacturers Association. Already, sales figures for October showed cookware ahead of last year, though given last year, “that’s not saying a whole lot—but there’s not the same sort of deep concern from last year,” he said.
One of the categories that is up is tea kettles, Rushing said, proving that people are cocooning more. “People are not visiting Starbucks for their morning brew.”
Bakeware is also strong, Rushing added. “We see that in every recession,” he said. “Bakeware is mostly reasonably priced so it’s an impulse item. She can fit it into her grocery budget.”
At Macy’s, Meyer’s Anolon Bronze 10-piece set was offered with two bonuses—an 11-inch/5 quart covered casserole and a 12-inch round griddle for a total value of $180 value, more than half the set’s retail price of $299.99. A 10-piece set of Calphalon Contemporary, retailing at $399.99 (regularly $652), came with a $150 bonus set of a 7-piece utensil set and 6.5 quart soup pot.
Spending $300 on Calphalon at Bed Bath & Beyond will net the consumer a $50 gift card, while spending $400 will get them the gift card plus a Calphalon Unison 5-quart Dutch Oven with kitchen towel and utensil.
At J.C. Penney’s Manhattan location, a Cuisinart 10-piece stainless set was selling for $149.99 instead of $249.99, with the added bonuses of a 2-quart tea kettle and a 15-inch baking sheet.
Along with the $10 toys that have marked this holiday season, cookware is also hitting lower price points to entice consumers. A recent Target circular promoted $4 Chefmate bakeware; a T-fal non-stick dome roaster, a T-fal two-piece non-stick saute pan set and a Chefmate 8-quart stainless steel stockpot for $15 each; and $30 for a Chefmate 16-piece stainless steel cookware set. In addition, the retailer had all Bialetti open-stock cookware on sale, while a nine-piece set was retailing for $38. A T-fal 10-piece stainless steel set with copper bottom was on sale for $99.99.
At Macys.com, in its holiday section for Gifts under $25, deals included a Tools of the Trade Belgique 3-quart soup pot for $15.99, down from $39.99, while a Martha Stewart Collection 11-inch non-stick black enameled square griddle was on sale for $19.99 instead of $29.99.
Cooking.com’s Gifts Under $30 included a three-piece Outrageous Brownie Pan Gift Set by Barefoot Contessa, tea kettles by Meyer’s Paula Deen, a 10-inch non-stick crepe pan by Calphalon, and a 12-inch stir fry by Asian Concepts.
Crate & Barrel has seen the effects of people baking and cooking at home, said a spokesperson, and all of its home-cooking items are popular. It’s even brought back the slow cooker in two sizes as a result, and introduced an exclusive cutlery line made by Kai called Tan Ren.
Crate & Barrel is also offering free shipping when consumers spend more than $100 through Dec. 22. Target will ship for free when consumers drop more than $50 on more than 100,000 items, and hsn.com offered free shipping on more than 1,000 products, including some cookware.