CMI Identifies Key Retail Opportunities for Cherry Sales

CMI Cherry Report photoA CMI (Columbia Marketing International) report identifies key differences between top and bottom performing retailers in U.S. markets, revealing strategies leading supermarket chains use to drive cherry sales and volume growth.

According to Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, the study evaluated cherry category performance data in retail chains all over the U.S. “There are some critically different approaches used by top retailers to drive cherry sales that supermarket chains at the back of the pack simply don’t use. The study indicates that the cherry merchandising, pricing and promotional tools consistently used by top performing supermarkets can be implemented by just about any retailer of any size. But these tools are missing in low performing stores,” he says.

The research shows that when consumers reach the retail shelf they react impulsively to cherry displays and pricing. Cherry buyers are very cognizant of retail price promotions for all summer fruits. The result is in-store pricing can actually create incentives for consumers to switch away from cherries resulting in a lower overall fruit transaction.

“If retailers aren’t careful they can inadvertently incentivize consumers to reduce cherry purchases, substituting lower-priced or discounted competitive fruits in place of cherries. The data clearly shows the inevitable result is lower dollar performance for the store,” says Lutz, adding that the most successful retailers actually boost performance during the short cherry season by maintaining strong shelf position and attractive everyday pricing to encourage consumers to trade up to cherries.

The study also details how cherry performance can have a significant impact on overall fruit performance for retailers. “An analysis of loyalty card data shows that the average transaction size for cherries is $6.18 compared to only $4.77 for berries, $4.46 for grapes and $3.38 for stone fruit,“ says Lutz. “This large average transaction size makes the cherry category incredibly dynamic with immediate opportunities for nearly every retailer to increase sales.”

The study results indicate that other key factors in driving cherry category performance are the use of secondary displays and expanded category assortment: the study shows retailers with more package choices beyond random weight bags enjoy significantly stronger sales. In addition, secondary displays “generated 31% higher dollar performance in Rainier cherries and 18% higher dollar performance in red cherries.”

Lutz said that the full report will be released this week to CMI customers.

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