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Thanksgiving Still A Retail Promo Op - -November 13, 1996


Thanksgiving comes but once a year... and brings one more opportunity to offer customers a little something extra in the way of a sale-closer.


In the weeks just before Turkey Day, a number of white-goods retailers around the country have been creating appliance promotions around the upcoming holiday. Many other stores don1t do anything special for Thanksgiving, but those dealers who do make the effort say it generally pays off with a least a few additional sales.


In many cases, those retailers who do plan Thanksgiving-oriented events say it1s the last big chance for appliances to shine before the Christmas holidays shift consumers1 attention toward more gift-oriented electronics purchases. And with tried-and-true approaches such as free turkey giveaways, independents and regional operators are looking to lure consumers away from the national chains and into their stores before the day-after-Thanksgiving holiday rush begins.


At Tops Appliance City1s stores in the metro New York area, for example, value-added promotions related to Thanksgiving got under way last month. Dennis D1Angelo, appliance merchandise manager, tells TWICE Tops is offering customers a certificate for a free 15-pound Butterball turkey with every self-cleaning range purchased until Thanksgiving, and a four-piece set of silverware free with every dishwasher bought at $299 and up.


3That kind of offer can act as a tie-breaker, giving consumers that last nudge they need to decide to buy from us,2 D1Angelo explains. 3We1ve gotten a good response from our customers to this kind of value-added promotion D it1s a little extra they don1t expect, and they appreciate it.


3We also try to tie the premium to the item they1re buying,2 he says, 3and to use recognizable brand names like Butterball for the offers, so they know the value of what they1re getting.2


Ranges get the biggest sales boost from the Thanksgiving holiday, retailers agree, so most promo efforts star cooking appliances.


For example, Illinois independent Bill Fisher, of Bill Fisher1s Appliance Centers, kicked off his annual 3Range Roundup2 promotion on November 10. The campaign takes on a Western theme, including TV commercials showing Fisher being lassoed, and runs through the night before Thanksgiving.


3Around this time of year a lot of people are having company for big meals, and they want a new range to show off to their guests and to make the meal preparation easier,2 Fisher says. He1s been doing the Range Roundup for years and traditionally sees a subsequent jump in sales.


B & B Appliances1 two stores in the Cleveland, Ohio area 3absolutely see a bump in range sales around Thanksgiving2 each year, says appliance buyer Rich Weybrecht. The holiday also has some, though not as much, upward impact on dishwasher sales as well, he adds.


B & B was still working out final details of this year1s Thanksgiving promotion at press time, but Weybrecht says the company has already been emphasizing manufacturers1 rebates heavily and plans a turkey coupon giveaway.


3We tend to be pretty unflamboyant in the newspaper, beyond saying that we1ve been here more than 70 years and this is the place to go,2 he tells TWICE. 3Instead of a lot of outside hype, our sales efforts are mostly internal. For example, we1ve made some special purchases of hot range models from a number of brands, and our salespeople will be highlighting the features and benefits of those.2


Weybrecht notes that the lion1s share of B & B1s range promotions in the next few weeks will focus on gas models, since his stores1 ratio of gas to electric range sales is about 70/30.


Also still finalizing Thanksgiving plans was Appliance-TV Depot, the four-store operation in Miami, Fla. Says marketing and sales manager Ernie Santelices, 3We1ll be running extra print ads with headlines along the lines of `gobble up the savings,1 but we1re still working that out.
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