Raley's Director of Produce and Floral, Michael Schutt, Details St. Patrick's Day Merchandising
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - One of the things I love most about any holiday is the food, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. As a native Sacramentan, I’ll be making my way to Raley’s to build out my green-themed menu. Luckily, I already spoke with Michael Schutt, Raley’s Director of Produce and Floral, who gave me the inside scoop on the retailer’s game plan for making sure the produce department is the top destination this holiday.
“St. Patrick's Day and Easter are the last big comfort food holidays before people pull out their grills and smokers,” Michael shared with me. “With that said, St. Patrick’s Day is laden with produce ingredient items from the obvious cabbage, red potatoes, and carrots to others like onions, celery, leeks, and chives. These are all typically inexpensive spring vegetables, which made them attractive to the Irish immigrants and still makes them popular with shoppers today as great options to pair with a corned beef brisket.”
Cabbage certainly has its hey-day on March 17, and Michael explained that demand for cabbage skyrockets.
“St. Patrick’s Day is THE cabbage holiday! Many diet and food trends come and go—the cabbage soup diet comes to mind—but St. Patrick's Day is the one time each year when often overlooked cabbage takes center stage,” Michael noted. “During the St. Patrick's Day holiday, it's not uncommon to see demand for cabbage exceed 10 to 12 times that of a regular week. Cabbage is also inexpensive, which causes retailers to merchandise much larger displays around St. Patrick’s Day.”
Overall, Raley’s has a calculated approach to holiday merchandising, one that allows the retailer to think strategically.
“We merchandise for holidays in much the same way we plan our seasonal offerings. We have a process that entails taking all the relevant products, going into the ‘lab,’ and implementing thoughtful guidelines and templates to create a meaningful customer experience. Holidays generally inspire a lot of collaboration between departments, with governance provided by the visual merchandising team to ensure that we create a great amount of ‘theater’ within the store but let the product tell the story. Placing those key players at center stage is the goal we strive for, and we replicate that experience across all the banners and trade areas we serve,” Michael concluded.
May the luck of the Irish bless us all this St. Patrick’s Day—especially as we bolster fresh produce.