CMI report outlines cherry strategies - The Packer

CMI report outlines cherry strategies

05/15/2014 10:36:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

Columbia Marketing InternationalTop cherry performers keep consumers from trading down with optimum pricing, multiple displays and packaging options, according to a category performance report from Columbia Marketing International.

The Wenatchee, Wash.-based company planned to release the report, which analyzes differences between top and bottom retail performers, to its customers in mid-May.

Cherry consumers are prone to trade down on price if a retailer isn’t careful, said Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing. Retailers who keep a relatively high price and then drop to a deep discount are missing out on opportunities, he said.

“That tends to isolate peak performance to a few weeks,” Lutz said.

Retailers who price competitively and occasionally drop for a promotion make cherries a more attractive purchase for the consumer and post better performance overall.

The report analyzes cherry sales from the 2012 and 2013 seasons — very different production years for cherry growers — and shows retailers who perform well do so with a great crop and a not-so-great crop, Lutz said.

Cherry purchases are key to summer fruit sales performance.

“Top performing retailers recognize consumers are coming in and they’re not going to buy every summer fruit,” he said. “They’re somewhat selective and buy two, possibly three.”

Lutz said the average transaction for cherries is $6.18 compared to $5.43 for cut fruit, less than $5 for berries and less than $5 for melons.

“Those are sales dollars that are missed by missing that cherry transaction,” he said.

Pack options also contributed to higher sales. Retailers offering more than random weight bags had stronger sales, 31% higher dollar performance in rainier and 18% higher in red cherries.

A light California cherry crop this year has Washington producers ready for a strong season, Lutz said.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity this season,” Lutz said. “The piece that really comes out clear in this report is that retailers that are over performing really recognize that there is a 10-12 week opportunity to be strong every single week by getting displays right, merchandising right and having a solid promotion plan.”

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