Despite a sluggish Houston retail economy, Foley’s is looking for an increase in floor care volume this year by continuing its aggressive promotional program and by adjusting the merchandise mix to increase margins.
For some time, Foley’s has taken a dominant stand in the vacuum cleaner, category but emphasis during the coming year will be on increasing profits, according to Larry Asselin, Foley’s divisional merchandise manager, housewares and small electrics. best vacuum cleaner, Heavy Duty Vacuum Cleaner
“We are very sensitive to the fact that floor care produces a substantial volume of business at Foley’s,” Asselin explains. “At the same time we also recognize the need to become more profitable in this day and age of a sluggish business economy.
“We intend to do nothing to decrease the emphasis on the promotional beat of the business. We anticipate an increase in volume during 1986.
“However our primary thrust will be on making the floor care department increasingly more profitable.”
Asselin declined to reveal specifics about how the merchandise assortment would be changed or supplemented other than to note that there are opportunities with units that carry a higher markup and sell successfully.Since the floor care market changes frequently with people paying attention to vac ads only when they have a need, frequency is essential, Asselin asserts.
Between shared cost by vendors and contribution from Foley’s, more ad dollars are put into the floor care classification than in any other houseware division, says Asselin. He adds that it is important for the buyer to work closely with vendors to put together a “well-thought-out and meaningful promotional calendar for the whole season.”
Foley’s promotes vacuum cleaners with pint ads three times a month at minimum and sometimes double or triple that. Also used are almost montly color catalogs and extensive TV blitzes two or three times a seaon with some vendors, according to Asselin, who says, “It’s a combination of all three that is important.”
Although Foley’s promotes aggressively each month, focus has been placed on November and June because they had been weak months. The increase in exposure has paid off, showing Foley’s that a “properly funded and organized promotion at any time of year can be successful in floor care,” says Asselin.
Best results have come from a combination of print and TV, observes Asselin, adding that catalogs are next in effectiveness because they show detail and “romance it a bit more.”
Asselin credits manufacturers’ demonstrators with boosting sales and believes their importance cannot be ignored. “We have noticed that within a given store that if a vendor demo is strong, it can have a dramatic effect on percent to total business which that vendor does,” Asselin states.
In addition to price, promotion and in-store demonstrators, Foley’s pays attention to display, making sure the emphasis is placed on floor care accessories in the some 200 to 300 square feet devoted to floor care within Foley’s housewares.
“We try to use tools as a display prop above floor care and build into the bags, belts and accessories,” explains Asselin. “There is a repeat business there and a much greater markup potential. We attempt to drive the mix of the accessories up with each sale that we run. Each time we run a floor care ad, we put in a line on accessories.”