"Sound off' comments.
Here is a selection of comments from retailers and distributors participating in Progressive Grocer's HBA Buyer Survey on new items.
"We pull deletes as soon as the new items come in and mark them down by 50% for transfer to a reduced or closeout display."--Chain, Texas
"Even with 100 combos and expanded HBA sections, finding space for new items is hard so we're looking to get more HBA shelf space. We've cut back on some categories to make room for new meal replacement lines, and we're taking a long hard look at automotive and soft goods to see if we can pick up some space there."--Chain, New Jersey
"It doesn't take a mental giant to realize that it's a good idea to take on a new line that's being backed by $10 million to $40 million in advertising--so who needs a buying committee? Not every size or flavor, of course, but the idea is to move quickly."--Service merchandiser, Midwest
"The idea of talking about new items at our department managers meetings is to encourage them to pay more attention to this important part of the HBA business."--Multi-store independent, Arizona
"Almost anybody can be a good buyer, but it's better merchandisers we need. Purchasing an item is one thing; knowing what to do with it is something else."--Wholesaler, Kansas
"We send product out with a memo of authorization and a planogramed shelf tag. This is followed up by the account manager of our service merchandiser."--Multi-store independent, Massachusetts
"Meeting with our non-foods managers include getting their input on new items and buying commitments. They are the real buyers."--Multi-store independent, Indiana
"I'm getting out in the stores more to see what's actually happening."--Chain, Michigan
"We have a very good relationship with our rack jobber. I meet with them once a week for about three hours. Everything, including new items, is done through them."--Multi-store independent, Massachusetts
"If you're late with a new item and the competition has already picked it up and a coupon drop is involved, you might as well forget it as far as promotion is concerned. We have the traffic and the best opportunity for new items--if only we can capitalize on it."--Chain, Ohio
"Sometimes we get only six weeks notice on an important new item. We need three months to get set with the planogram and not have to rush. I realize manufacturers want to keep their plans secret until the last minute, but sometimes it gets ridiculous. I think they're overly cautious and hurt themselves."--Chain, Illinois
"We have a thing about being first with new items. We do use shelf signs with a two-month pull date. We also use shippers, but with discretion to avoid having too many up at one time."--Chain, Utah
"With POS technology we can identify store demographics, which is helpful with some new items. For instance, on an item aimed at older people with arthritis we would take larger sizes for stores with more older customers."--Chain, Tennessee