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Winn-Dixie customers in for sweet treat from Hershey’s


Winn-Dixie is partnering with the Hershey Co. to outfit stores with a “Candy Experience” section: a new concept that has replaced the traditional candy aisle in a Winn-Dixie in Baton Rouge, La.

Tests show that the new candy section, best described as a “store within a store,” can lift confection category sales for retailers by strong double digits. The candy experience sits at the front of the store, a dramatically different location from an aisle where consumers must hunt around for the candy shelves.

“The candy experience puts the consumer and shopper first,” said Rick Price, senior manager of Center Store Evolution at the Hershey Co. “A majority of shoppers find the candy category the hardest to shop and the least inspiring in the store, resulting in many shoppers walking away without any confection in their basket. Our re-imagined candy aisle addresses these challenges and makes candy shopping more convenient and memorable.”

The candy section at Winn-Dixie’s Baton Rouge store is now a circular set of bold displays located in the highly trafficked front of the store next to customer service and the checkout lanes.

Hershey took a full category approach in designing the section, which displays America’s most well-known confections, including competitors’ top brands. Shoppers will be enticed to shop by displays with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses toppers, graphics of unwrapped candy, bright colors and convenient organization by usage (candy dish, premium, movie/snack, grab/go, etc.).

Winn-Dixie’s Baton Rouge store has committed to using Hershey’s new candy section design for one year. Throughout the year, Hershey will invest in in-store shopper research as well as category merchandising plans.

Over the last few years, the grocery channel has experienced declining sales in center-of-the-store categories, including confection, with trips in the grocery channel down 2.1 percent.

“We have put comprehensive success metrics in place, and we are excited to see how the Hershey’s candy experience performs,” said Frank Jimenez, senior director of Retail Evolution at the Hershey Co. “We anticipate it will be a game-changer and we look forward to working with Winn-Dixie to roll it out at other stores and beginning to ignite a change in how candy is displayed and sold across the grocery channel.”

The Hershey Co., headquartered in Hershey, Pa., has approximately 13,000 employees and more than 80 brands worldwide that drive over $7.1 billion in annual revenue. Brands include Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers.

Winn-Dixie, owned by BI-LO Holdings, operates 548 grocery stores in the southern United States.

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