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    Category Co-captain: Candy: Mars Chocolate North America

    Retailers that sell candy know full well the seasonally driven nature of the category, which often makes it challenging to determine the optimal seasonal product mix, unique product order quantities and adequate stock needs throughout the entire season for each store.

    http://www.progressivegrocer.com/inprint/article/id2337/collective-excellence/artimages/PG/PG112011_56c.jpgRetailers that sell candy know full well the seasonally driven nature of the category, which often makes it challenging to determine the optimal seasonal product mix, unique product order quantities and adequate stock needs throughout the entire season for each store.

    To help retailers accurately estimate the ideal per-store mix to maximize profit potential during key seasonal timeframes, Mars Chocolate North America created an innovative seasonal forecasting tool -- Seasonal Architect -- that not only places the correct candy mix into the right stores, but also makes retailers and manufacturers more profitable by selling more confections during the season, as opposed to after the season ends. A related key benefit of the tool further enables superior forecasting efforts during key promotional periods such as Halloween, Holiday, Valentine’s Day and Easter.

    And the proof, quite literally, is in the candy aisle. Indeed, since its launch in February, Mars’ Seasonal Architect has improved sell-through at an average of 92 percent as a result of its integrated ability to help retailers maximize profitability across four key areas: First, it identifies stores and items with out-of-stock issues; second, it determines the root cause of out-of-stock issues; third, it recommends tactics to maximize seasonal sell-through; and finally, it accurately estimates the total opportunity through mix optimization.

    Retailers that have used this tool have seen increased seasonal confectionery category results by an average of more than 10 percent improvement. What’s more, retailers that have tested Seasonal Architect report that their category seasonal chocolate sales have increased from 5 percent to 25 percent.

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