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Merchandising Merit

all your bases

Store rings up record sales with Valentine’s Day display that offers something for everyone.

When merchandising for Valentine’s Day, stores hope to have at least one gift that will appeal to each customer who walks in the door. Last year, Albertsons/Osco (Store No. 960) in Tucson, Ariz., built the largest and most successful Valentine’s Day display in its history. If customers couldn’t find the gifts they wanted, they had the option of having floral items specially made at the display’s custom station.

The display, an entry in the 2005 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest, sponsored by Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems, achieved record sales for Valentine’s Day. The floral staff credits the display’s success to planning, attention to detail and a coordinated effort.

Planning for the Valentine’s Day display started right after Christmas. One month out from setup, the floral department staff began saving floral boxes and wrapping them in Valentine’s Day paper. They used these to add color between the bouquet buckets and merchandiser blocks.

The employees constructed the display one week before the holiday. While variety of product is important to Albertsons, convenience is a consideration as well. The staff made sure the display was easy to shop from all sides.

Coordinated by the store’s director, the Valentine’s display was a team effort from all the departments. Items ranged in price from a little more than $3 to around $50. Floral offerings included small and large wrapped bouquets, bud vases, rose arrangements, balloons, and potted tulips and mini roses.

The bakery department contributed Valentine’s Day cakes and cookies, and the general merchandise department offered candy, plush and greeting cards. The liquor department added champagne. The produce and grocery departments supplied two Kraft freezers containing chocolate-covered strawberries and Reddi-wip whipped cream. The day before and on Valentine’s Day, the produce manager manned a cart from which he passed out fresh chocolate-covered strawberries.

Despite the diverse selection of items in the display, Floral Assistant Brandi Schmitt says many customers still requested custom-made floral gifts. Workers at the custom station could take the customer’s bouquet choice and wrap it in tissue paper or turn it into an arrangement. They handled other services, too, from wrapping single roses in tissue to creating dozen rose arrangements.

The Valentine’s Day display sold so well that the staff was constantly refilling it. When fresh floral wasn’t available, they turned to plush and candy from general merchandise. Not only did employees give the display great reviews, but Ms. Schmitt says customers were wowed by it as well.

You can reach Merchandising Merit writer Monica Humbard at or (800) 355-8086.

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