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Filling the seasonal void


Warehouse clubs have little to worry about this month, as Target takes a stab at merchandising large-pack sizes in stores and offering treasure hunt type merchandise on its Web site. Billed as The Great Save event, the limited duration merchandising initiative hit stores this week and continues Target on a familiar path of late that involves the aggressive promotion of brand-name consumables. In the case of the Great Save, the company took some familiar brands, Tide, Cheerios, Crest, Charmin, Bounty, Huggies and others and offered large pack size in an area of the store normally reserved for seasonal merchandise.

Shoppers are alerted to the promotion via multiple signs hung from the ceiling just inside stores entrances. The colorful signs scream, “club pack, club packs,” “all in one spot,” and “limited time.” Another sign advises shoppers to “head to the back of the store.” Target’s efforts to sell more consumables and food in a recessionary economy are well-documented, however this newest initiative marks the company’s further descent into the “pay less” aspect of its familiar brand formula, a move which surely has sparked some lively conversations about brand equity and integrity among the retailer’s merchants and marketers.

The Great Save event isn’t expected to last past mid-February, when space will be needed for spring seasonal categories, and practically speaking some of the pack sizes (150 ounce tide, 12 roll Bounty) aren’t any larger than what the company normally offers. They certainly are not of the gargantuan warehouse club variety, and that could be a good thing, assuming the merchandising initiative receives adequate marketing support to call out its existence. Even then, shoppers will be opportunistic in their purchases, selecting items where the company’s version of a club pack offers value and makes sense for their household needs.

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