Natural Foods Merchandiser

Choose housewares that sell

Those pots, pans and dishes pose a dilemma: They often take up more space than an average product, but they turn over less frequently than perishable or disposable items. Make housewares more profitable with these tips from Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights, a Brattleboro, Vt.-based naturals retailer consultant company.

Choose the right mix. "The first thing is to filter what goes with your product mix," Jacobowitz says. "Pea strainers, steamers and other health-related, food-prep items and whole-foods cooking utensils would be an obvious choice."

Make sure products fit the standards of your store. "Think of linkages—philosophical connections in the household." For example, instead of stocking Teflon cookware that leaches into food, choose cast iron, which supplies healthy amounts of iron to food. Then educate your shoppers about it the way you would with organic foods or herbs.

Pick a number. Once you've found a great product line, how many items should you carry to offer variety without being redundant? Enough to make a statement and establish your store as a go-to spot for certain items, Jacobowitz explains. For example, a store might sacrifice space for other housewares in order to establish a name for itself as a purveyor of great knives. "You want to be known for something," Jacobowitz says. "So people think, 'They might not have everything, but what they have they do well.'"

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