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Indianapolis -- Speaking to the collected body of Do it Best Dealers during the co-op's Merchandising Market Preview here, Steve Markley described light bulbs as a high-interest, high-reward category.
He encouraged dealers to visit the GE booth, as well as that of new vendor TCP. Vendors and Do it Best executives say that as more options -- and more questions -- hit the light bulb category, the more the hardware store format will benefit. If they have the right products and the right product knowledge, light bulbs can result in big gains.
Markley also pointed to the fastest growing categories for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op year-to-date. They are:
• Patio fans and heaters, up 113%;
• Audio components, up 54%.
• Oscillating tool accessories, up 46%;
• Janitorial supplies, up 21%;
• Pond and fountain supplies, up 21%; and
• Food/snacks/beverages, up 20%.
In the area of light bulbs, where LEDs are increasingly a factor, Markley said the business has evolved beyond the obligation to meet efficiency regulations. "It's about the opportunity," he said. "It's there for you to pick up business and pick up market share. Make sure you have the right product and make sure your staff understands the opportunities."
Markley also pointed to a new "price-buster" program inspired by member demand for super low price discounts throughout the year. "We have the price buster promotion coming out on a monthly basis," he said. "These are Sneak-Peek type discounts on items we store in our RSC."
Sneak Peek is the term for the co-op's 90-minute special-discount buying frenzy the night before the show officially opens. Some products are discounted more than 50%.
Markley said response to the program has been encouraging. "Look for that to grow."