12/03/2012 04:18:00 PM
Armand Lobato

Even though massive produce merchandising changes may not be considered necessary after the holidays, a clean, uncluttered appearance is a welcome change of pace. Further, reorganizing is synonymous with New Year’s resolutions — and increased produce consumption is at the core of every health and weight-loss resolution. So a subtle merchandising change is in order.

How soon should a produce manager remerchandise his or her department after New Year’s day?

Try Jan. 2.

This is when you’ll begin to see that your customers are looking at the produce department with new eyes. Their desires will seemingly change overnight from the holiday mode (surrendering to culinary indulgences) to getting reorganized with bold resolutions. Leading the list for many New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. Customers will shop your department with this in mind, as eating well is at the heart of reaching any better-health goals.

Here are three steps to achieving a completely new look in the produce department for January.


Resolve to reorganize the produce department

Many people begin the New Year with new calendars, new appointment books and a clean slate. Likewise, try to mirror these efforts. Begin by getting rid of all holiday-related décor. Everyone grumbles at the neighbor who waits until July to take down the outdoor Christmas lights. So be the first to make a clean sweep and remove any holiday-related signs, banners or posters.

Strive for the fresh, clean look — store or toss all those cardboard floor shippers. Try putting away other display or aisle obstacles that aren’t nailed down. Relegate those merchandising crates and even bushel baskets to storage — at least for the time being.

This revamping is easily transferred to stocking habits as well. Eliminate anything that makes stock levels look cluttered. Strive to hand-stack whenever possible, and keep displays neat, rotated, well-culled and level. Have your sign clerk do an extra-sharp job on matching the “clean” look: Replace old or worn paper signs with new ones, and ensure that every sign is clear, neat and straight, with hardware intact and no excess tape.

This is also an ideal time to put on an extra shine on everything. Post-holiday protocol requires an extra dose of cleaning. Make sure that the New Year’s look includes spotless mirrors, clean fixtures and daily attention to areas such as scales, wet-rack chrome and flooring.

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