By David Gill
Housewares are a small but important part of the product offerings for most supermarket chains.
Visits to several supermarket locations in New Jersey revealed that the merchandising strategies differ greatly among the grocers.
One supermarket that views housewares as a destination in its stores is Wegman’s. At Wegman’s, the kitchen-products area covers six aisles measuring 120 running feet altogether. These products, which are displayed on wire fixtures, are adjacent to sections offering refrigerated packaged foods, breads, produce and cheese—in a layout that is clearly intended to draw shoppers from the food sections to the products that help them prepare and serve that food.
Wegman’s also displays a wide range of cooking merchandise, including kitchen electrics, cookware, bakeware, tools, table settings and barware. The stores features some of the industry’s most notable brands, such as Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Capresso, George Foreman, Bialetti and Joyce Chen.
Wegman’s also offers cookware branded under its own name.
The store also has a small run—five feet—of personal-care electrics placed in its hair-care aisle. The merchandise is all from Conair and includes dryers, hair straighteners and curling irons. The adjacencies are the cosmetics aisle, the baby-products section and over-the-counter products.
Wegman’s presentation is obviously organized around establishing housewares as a key location in the store. A New Jersey Walmart with a grocery section is also configured with groceries adjacent to housewares, with wide aisles and signage intended to create a flow of traffic between these two areas. The two sections are also across the aisle from the checkout stations. This Walmart has three runs of small electrics and individual runs of microwaves, tableware, bakeware, gadgets and floorcare products.
Other retailers visited by HFN offer fewer categories and do less to set housewares apart.
One Weis supermarket makes a limited attempt to call attention to its housewares offerings. It has a four-foot run of cookware under the Ekco and Revere brands in its aisle for prepared foods, dressings, magazines and books.
The Weis store also stocks kitchen tools on hanging fixtures that run along the pasta and sauces aisle, which offer spoons, all-purpose knives, salt and pepper shakers, strainers, grips, timers, drink mixers, chopsticks, can openers and spreaders. The brands include Farberware, Spring Mill, Fairgrove, Old El Paso, Lami, Hoan and Progresso. In the center of the coffee aisle at the Weis is several boxes of Keurig Single-Cup Brewing Systems, with no fixturing or signage.
An A&P location visited by HFN makes more of an effort to highlight its housewares. This store has an aisle called the Kitchen Shop, placed opposite the spice aisle with dedicated runs of from five to 10 feet each for kitchen tools, cookware, electrics, tableware, bakeware and storage containers. Brands include Farberware, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Corningware, Oster, Braun Tassimo, Hamilton Beach, Corelle, Silverstone and Pyrex.
A&P also places Hamilton Beach and Mr. Coffee coffeemakers on the top shelf in a short run on the coffee aisle. Well-known brands are also featured in A&P’s personal-care section, which is part of the aisle with hair-care products and cosmetics. There is a presentation of Conair hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons and hair-trimming kits, along with Vidal Sassoon hair-cut kits and Remington shavers and trimmers.
A Stop & Shop location also provides cooking housewares with its dedicated aisle. Electrics, tableware, kitchen tools, gadgets, cookware, bakeware and barware from several top brands occupy a 100-foot run opposite baby products. Each of these categories has its own dedicated space with four or five shelves each. There are also hanging fixtures for tools and gadgets.
Coffeemakers from Keurig, Proctor Silex, Hamilton Beach and Cuisinart can be found on the bottom shelf of Stop & Shop’s coffee bean-grinder run in the coffee aisle. In the beverage and detergent aisles, storage containers from Rubbermaid, Sterilite, Arctic Zone, Igloo and Playmate have short runs. In the personal-care section is a fixture devoted to Oral-B toothbrushes and a Conair end cap with dryers, trimmers, curling irons and hot-air stylers.
The Shop Rite store also gives a long run, 75 feet, to cooking housewares, in an aisle with baking products; and places all of the coffeemakers together with other coffee products, like Stop & Shop. In the hair-care/cosmetics aisle is a large presentation of personal-care electrics, including hair dryers, styling irons, straighteners, hair-cut kits, shavers and manicure/pedicure systems from Conair, Vidal Sassoon, Revlon, Remington, MiniPro and HoMedics.
A Whole Foods location visited by HFN had a much smaller presentation of housewares. Bodum teapots and coffeemakers are placed on a shelf on top of the bean grinders. On a 20-foot run opposite the spaghetti-sauce shelves are Kyocera kitchen tools, colander sets and microwave cookware from Reston Lloyd, OXO kitchen tools, Pyrex bakeware and Polder gadgets.
The housewares sold in an Acme location is also relatively small. Bakeware and tools from KitchenAid and Good Cook are placed on a 15-foot run between syrup and cocoa products in the coffee/cereal/bakeware aisle. Tools also occupy a 50-foot run on hanging fixtures along the top of this aisle. Storage containers from Rubbermaid, Homelife and Gladware occupy a nine-foot run in the razors/shampoos/lightbulbs aisle. A small run of Oral-B toothbrushes is opposite the frozen-foods section.
A Proctor Silex display is in a Pathmark location visited by HFN, in a five-foot run on the top shelves in the middle of the baking needs aisle. These hold coffeemakers, toasters, mixers and irons. In the same aisle, kitchen tools from Farberware and bakeware from Pyrex and Baker’s Secret stand in a 10-foot run next to the Proctor Silex display.