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On behalf of the 1,600 fresh pear growers of Washington and Oregon, Pear Bureau Northwest presented Wegmans Food Markets with its 2015 Pear Retailer of the Year award. The regional retailer was lauded by the Portland, Ore.-based organization for its merchandising performance and sales increase in the pear category.
Not only does Wegmans offer all 10 varieties of pears during the year but also implements several proven merchandising strategies to improve sales and volume over the prior year. Maintaining strong sales requires implementation of a complete program throughout the season, notes Kevin D. Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest, and Wegmans successfully delivers above and beyond.
“Wegmans displays conditioned pears that are ready to eat in a few days instead of ready in a week,” stated Moffitt. “Recent consumer research shows that over half of all pear consumers will eat their pear within the first two days of purchase. And we know that ripe pears can outsell unripe pears by as much as 19.5 percent at retail. The research supports this choice by Wegmans and contributed to their exceptional performance.”
Moffitt also shares more pear category best practices that Wegmans utilized, including carrying two green pears like Bartlett and Anjou all season, providing the choice of two sizes of bagged pears for busy shoppers, adding secondary pear displays to increase visibility and impulse purchases, and promoting recipes and pairing ideas when sampling pears. “The practices implemented by Wegmans continue to put them at the top of the pear category performance, and we are proud to recognize their outstanding efforts," he added.
Dave Corsi, Wegmans VP of produce and floral, accepted the award on behalf of the 87-store supermarket chain. "Wegmans is honored to receive this recognition from USA Pears. The pear category is a vital part of our fresh fruit offering. When comparing other fruit segments, the pear category has outperformed any other throughout the past year. It's a solid performer, but at the same time we still have opportunity for further growth. Over the years," Corsi continued, "the Pear Bureau has provided great tools to educate our customers about the quality and eating characteristics of the many pear varieties. Without their assistance, we would not be equipped to provide the best in flavor, understanding the optimum level of ripeness and varietal differences, to our customers."
The Pear Retailer of the Year Award was established by Pear Bureau Northwest in 2011. Past honorees include Demoula’s Market Basket (2011), Meijer (2012), Ingles (2013) and Publix Super Markets (2014).