Richard Ginther has been in retail for more than 38 years: 25 years in grocery and 13 in convenience. He joined West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go in 2005 and became a category manager in 2009, handling general merchandise and health and beauty care (HBC).
Q: How have you changed your general merchandise (GM) and HBC sets in the past year?
A: We have removed DVDs, souvenirs, greeting cards, audio books and travel games. We expanded a year-round seasonal Kum & Go wearable and Bluetooth equipment sections. We underwent a major HBC reset to capture additional multidose sales in pain relief, upper respiratory and stomach upper-gastrointestinal subcategories and to add new products to eye care, first aid, skin care and hair care.
Q: Do you use category captains?
A: SRP Cos. is our GM partner and Lil’ Drug Store is our HBC partner. We develop annual business plans with monthly sales goals around the four P’s of marketing: product, price, placement and promotion.
Q: What type of information guides your decisions?
A: Internal data includes total sales; sales per point of distribution; unit sales; sales by day; sales by time of day; sales indexes by market, region or state; and loyalty data. External data includes NACS state of the industry, Nielsen and IRI to benchmark performance and assortment planning tools to determine the incremental volume of existing SKUs.
Q: What’s new in GM that has your focus?
A: Localized wearables and novelties. Stores near universities will carry a different assortment from stores on interstates or suburban stores.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in managing GM and HBC?
A: Determining the time dedicated to localizing the assortment to maximize sales weighed against the time spent maintaining complexity of layouts and plan-o-grams.
Q: Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. What item from your category would you want to have?
A: Definitely a lighter. I would want to make sure to have heat [and] cooked food, and fend off any predators.
“We develop annual business plans with monthly sales goals around the four P’s of marketing: product, price, placement and promotion.”