With parents, children and college students on the lookout for new stationery in time for the start of the school year, c-store retailers are well placed to gain a timely sales boost. Late August and early September are the peak selling times, so it's worth topping up your shelves now before the back-to-school rush.
Many manufacturers have updated their ranges and worked hard to create an attractive offer for convenience retailers. Products targeting a particular age group have proved popular and a variety of display options are available to those retailers who are hard pushed to find space for the category.
BIC has a new back-to-school range for 2006. For younger children, the BIC Kids range features a number of colouring products including splinter-proof pencils, washable ink felt tips and some wax-free crayons.
Older schoolchildren are catered for with a new range of mechanical pencils. The extended BIC Matic range contains pencils with different lead sizes and a selection of grips and new designs. The company has also introduced a new version of its Cristal Gel pen, which is described as perfect for writing long essays and for note-taking, as well as a range of Tipp-Ex products including Tipp-Ex DeleteO correction tape.
BIC category marketing manager Joanne Potter says: "The new range has been specifically designed to make writing fun, easier and safer for both pupils and teachers. While BIC is renowned for reliable, affordable products, the 2006 back-to-school range clearly demonstrates that we also have innovation and fun in mind when designing new products."
Uni-ball, which owns the Mitsubishi Pencil Company, launched its Scribble Squad range of pens for 8- to 10-year-olds earlier this year. It is also targeting college students with a number of premium products. Marketing manager Clare Gibbard says: "About a third of all stationery sales are made during the back-to-school period, so it pays for retailers to be prepared. Getting the correct combination of products, price, merchandising and marketing is essential for retailers who want to profit from this vital period."
She adds: "Consumers, particularly students, are more design aware than ever and we must respond to this. Back to school or college is no longer about buying a cheap pack of pens. A combination of the latest trends, technology and extra value is required to stimulate demand and gain sales growth."
Meanwhile, Staedtler is offering retailers a number of display options for its back-to-school range, which includes the 'test the best' series where shoppers can receive one of the company's best-selling products for free.
The display units are available free with stock orders and include two sizes of double-sided floor standing displays as well as two counter-top units. For retailers with limited space, the range is also available in clip strips to increase impulse purchases.
Stationery may not rate among your store's top-selling products,
but do your homework and get
your range right for the key
back-to-school periods, and you'll make sure your profits will go to
the top of the class.