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Film: Garry Briddon, vice president of business development for Kodak's consumer imaging division, on how the food industry can capture sales in the film category. (Nonfoods Handbook: Advertorial).

What is the current state of the film category?

Garry Briddon: The category as a whole is just about flat year-to-date. Category growth this year was impacted by economic trends, which have always been a barometer of the film industry. When the economy is soft, travel tends to pull back a bit. Advertising photography also pulls back. Sept. 11 was a major hit to the photographic consumer business because people stopped traveling. They're back traveling now, but not to the greater degree they were a year ago. Also, to some extent growing digital camera use has had an impact on the film industry.

What segments are growing the fastest? Slowest?

Certain segments are doing better than others. Color negative film showed negative single-digit growth, but one-time-use cameras continue to post growth in the double digits. It's starting to get to the point where we aren't getting that 30% or 35% growth every year because the size of the category is getting so big. But the growth so far this year is 11.9%, which is good. And the onetime-use segment is also growing in size. High performance models and ones for specific uses, such as sports, are constantly being introduced, which builds excitement among consumers. There is nothing like innovation to drive a category.

What are some of the current trends?

One thing we've noticed is that black-and-white photographs are making a comeback, especially among younger people and the Generation X set. So now we're getting a nice resurgence in black-and-white film demand. As this segment continues to grow, good category managers will see that a demand exists there and maybe set aside some pegs for it.

What should retailers do to build film sales in their own stores?

Retailers need to realize that film is a high-impulse item. It needs to have adequate space as far as a main selling location, but it also needs additional locations, which the most successful food retailers in the photo category have. They carry film at the checkstands and also areas where they sell birthday cards and party supplies, because those are the occasions when consumers take a lot of pictures.

In fact, at a recent meeting I saw some data that showed film is one of the highest, most productive uses of a peg at checkstands. As retailers continue to learn to manage the front of the store as a category itself, they should pay attention to the fact that film is one of the highest performing products for space allocated.

Is there anything retailers can do to make themselves more competitive in the film category against mass retail and drug stores?

While many retailers, especially food retailers, separate the film category from the photo processing category, the fact is that the two are closely linked. Film and film processing are two of the most effective trip generators that any store can have. It takes three trips to go through the complete process of ending up with pictures. You have to buy the film, you have to drop it off and then you have to pick up the pictures.

Photo is one of the categories that should be a high priority for stores that want to drive more trips. And you can't do that with just a very nice film rack. You have to also be on the other side of the formula because you might be selling film, but the second and third trips are going to your competitor who has a good photo finishing program. It is a reality in the photo category that the food stores that do well are viewed by shoppers as the place to go for all their photographic needs.

If you're not going to offer photo finishing, make sure that you've got film in multiple locations and that ifs in all the impulse areas that you need. You'll make a nice margin on the film you sell. If you want to maximize the category, then make sure that you're offering the output services that the consumer is going to want for the second and third trip in the photo cycle.

Finally, what does the future of the category look like? And how can food retailers hold on to market share in the future?

The film category is in a rapid rate of change. For the past 25 years, there has been film and there has been film processing. Now, digital cameras are a reality. Those cameras don't use film. We see digital images as incremental business to the category, not business we would have gotten from regular film if it were there. Digital users take six times the number of pictures. So retailers are going to have to adapt to this significant change. Digital camera users will be looking for different things, such as memory cards, batteries and digital printing. The smart retailers already have them on their radar screen.
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Author:Briddon, Garry
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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