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    EDITOR’S NOTE: Head of the Class

    Summer may be around the corner, and with it a long break from studies for most youngsters, but consumer packaged goods companies and the retailers that sell their wares are already thinking about the back-to-school season.

    bridgetSummer may be around the corner, and with it a long break from studies for most youngsters, but consumer packaged goods companies and the retailers that sell their wares are already thinking about the back-to-school season. Mars, Inc. has been particularly creative in this regard: Its Mars Retail Group division has come up with innovative displays combining the company’s famous candy brands with such new, must-have, kid-friendly items as apparel, home products, school supplies and even lip gloss. So far, major player Kroger has signed up to launch the concept in select store locations this fall.

    Other goings-on in the center store arena include Kellogg’s public commitment to increasing consumer’s fiber intake through the introduction of an online “Fiber-pe-dia” and a planned rollout of higher-fiber cereal products; Goya’s online launch of a collection of economical recipes; and Kimberly-Clark’s scheduled autumn introduction of facial tissues featuring its latest proprietary technology.

    Additionally, Rachel Magni, director of consumer insights at WD Partners, a Dublin, Ohio-based design and development firm for retailers and restaurants, shares her insider knowledge on how to enliven the grocery section without an extensive (and expensive) overhaul. The key is, naturally enough, to change your own approach to the department by anticipating the needs of your customers.

    With so much occurring in the aisles and beyond, center store is really heating up this season, and grocers bold enough to bask in the glow stand to benefit.

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