By David Gill
TVs, PCs, phones, home-entertainment centers, game systems … vacuum cleaners?
Indeed. Best Buy and Circuit City, the nation’s two leading purveyors of consumer electronics, have both made statements in the floor-care category.
Both consumer electronics chains offer vacuum cleaners in displays of varying size and prominence, as HFN discovered in recent visits to several Best Buy and Circuit City locations in New Jersey. (Circuit City, which has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since November, is in the process of closing 155 of its stores. Last month, the chain received approval from the bankruptcy court for $1.1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing.)
Best Buy easily has the stronger presentation in vacs of the two chains in terms of space, brands, accessories and displays. The running feet in the three Best Buys’ vacuum areas range from 70 feet to 80 feet, and the products are displayed on the middle shelves of aisle fixtures, with inventory on the bottom shelves of these fixtures.
Best Buy is also striving to present itself as a total rug- and carpet-care resource. It has placed vacuum accessories and rug- and carpet-cleaning products alongside the vacuums in these locations.
The retailer also positions vacuums on endcaps, which Circuit City does not. At the Best Buy in West Paterson, N.J., one endcap was devoted to hand vacuums from Dirt Devil and Shark, while other endcaps spotlighted products from Bissell, Dyson, Hoover and Panasonic.
Best Buy also seems to believe in a synergy between vacuums and appliances. All three locations placed their vacuum sections next to the major-appliances and small-electrics areas. Home-comfort products are an adjacency at two of the locations.
The Circuit City vacuum departments may be less spacious than those at Best Buy, but all three of these locations have put some emphasis on the section. In each Circuit City, the vacuum areas are close to the store entrances, and are one of the first product sections the shopper sees on entering the stores.
The space devoted to vacuums at the three Circuit Citys range from 25 to 50 running feet. At the location in Union, N.J., the vacuums occupied two sides of a low aisle fixture, while at the others, the vacuums were situated on one run. None of these three locations offered vacuum accessories or additional cleaning products, as could be found at the three Best Buys.
At two of the Circuit City locations, the vacuums are placed alongside the cameras area, with digital cameras and accessories on the other side of the aisle fixtures from the vacuums, and on the endcaps of those fixtures as well.