Bakery Department Sets All-Time Record
With thousands of store guests continuing to eat more at home and enjoy plentiful treats from their local grocer, Associated Food Stores’ bakery team is driving record-breaking sales growth. The department is currently more than 14 percent over their budgeted sales and more than 18 percent over the prior year having experienced their best week ever last week.
“So many things are combining to make this success happen,” said Dan Hilgenberg, director of fresh bakery for AFS. “Consumers are looking for bakery goods right now. We have great quality products and we’re staying in stock. Also, with the many labor challenges, we’re doing everything we can to make execution easy for retailers and it’s really paying off.”
An impressive portion of the sales has come from AFS exclusive brands. Sales of AFS’ Beehive Bread & Pastry Co. are up more than 46 percent over budget and more than 29 percent over already impressive results last year.
Through a collaborative effort between the bakery team and the AFS’ marketing and design team, Beehive Bread & Pastry Co. was rebranded this year. Dan and his team worked closely with KC Carlson and Courtney Poulson to refresh the branding and photography used to highlight the private label. Additionally, the bakery team introduced a new muffin program to the brand. The muffins have sold incredibly well, more than 11 truckloads so far this year, and continue to grow in popularity. The other product driving Beehive Bread & Pastry Co. is cheesecakes, up 45 percent in sales from a year ago.
Dan also attributes much of the success to the dedicated efforts of the bakery team including Taunia Fackrell, Deann Murillo and Heather Egan. These team members are responsible for training stores, helping stores implement programs, ordering and procuring product to ensure seasonal relevance and much more.
“Through our sales, merchandising and marketing efforts, we are encouraging consumers to trade up,” said Dan. “They want delicious options right now and are willing to pay fair prices to treat themselves to something they will enjoy. Shoppers are in the mood to buy bakery and we’re happy to help.”