General Merchandise Sales are Soaring

Associated Food Stores’ member retailers are seeing unprecedented success with seasonal general merchandise (GM) sales which results in increased sales for the wholesale team as well. The team is showing sales increases of 47 percent in 2022. With a 43 percent increase the year prior, GM sales have seen a lift of approximately 90 percent over the last two years. 

AFS GM experts say consumer habits have changed as has the approach from retailers. “Consumer behavior has shifted,” said Gordon Sanders, seasonal category manager overseeing GM. “Shoppers aren’t going to as many stores and when they find items of interest, at competitive prices, from their local grocer they are buying. It’s very exciting and something we haven’t seen in the past.” 

Gordon cited the recent success with kayak sales as an example. AFS retailers across the AFS service area are ordering kayaks, selling them, and then looking to purchase more. Member stores sold more than 2,400 kayaks last year. 

“Retailers are doing a wonderful job of ordering relevant products and then merchandising the items in a way that customers are seeing value and making purchases,” said Gordon. “Right now, we’re seeing nothing but peaks and are doing our best to continue taking advantage of the momentum we have.” 

Recently, over 150 individual members of Associated Food Stores experienced a tremendous buying opportunity at the GM Show at the AFS corporate office. The show featured Christmas décor and toys, Halloween, back-to-school and winter products. With dozens of categories represented, sales were fast and frequent.  

Gordon, Lisa Dall and others lead the effort. “The GM Show was extremely successful,” said Gordon. “We received positive feedback from retailers and are excited that they could take advantage of such great deals.” 

GM Shows are held two times a year. The first, which just occurred, is held in February, the second show is in August. Many team members are involved in the event including the category management assistants and many team members from the warehouse.  

“I want to thank our core team that consists of Lisa, Traci Tourreuil, Emily Nelson, and Richard Watson,” said Gordon. “I also want to extend gratitude to the GM specialists and the Salt Lake City warehouse teams as contributors to the success we had. A lot of planning and teamwork goes into making the GM seasonal program appealing to retailers and their shoppers.”