Phantom Frenzy

By Jun 01, 1999

“Six hours of merchandising wiped out in five minutes,” said a fatigued Toys R Us employee in Norwalk, CT, as he restocked Lego toys in the new Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace section – spread across the entire store in front of the checkout lanes. The outlet opened at midnight on May 3 for about 30 diehard “collectors” who quickly picked the shelves clean.

About 16 hours later, two dozen shoppers intensely sorted through opened boxes of Hasbro toys stacked on pallets – looting before staffers could get the product onto shelves. “It’s not worth unloading them,” said the stocker.

In one corner, standard-issue Frito-Lay snack bags sat unmolested on Star Wars cardboard shelving. “We didn’t know until we opened the boxes that they didn’t have the new [Star Wars promotional] packaging,” explained the clerk. Toys R Us doesn’t usually sell chips, but “we’ve bought just about anything connected to the movie,” the clerk said.

In NARMS Way Tired of being unable to assess the value of merchandising efforts? So is the National Association of Retail Merchandising Services, Plover, WI.

NARMS has joined with researcher Willard Bishop Consulting Ltd. to undertake a study called Documenting the Value of Merchandising. The objective is to ascertain the sales benefits of three critical merchandising strategies: implementing planograms, stock-keeping advertising units, and cutting-in and stock-keeping new items.

The study will be conducted this summer in food, mass merchandise, and home center stores. Results will be released in October at NARMS annual Fall Conference & Exhibition Oct. 21-23 in St. Augustine, FL.