Rubbermaid and Corning nab top positions

Rubbermaid and Corning nab top positions – name brand houseware sales at discount stores

Rubbermaid and Corning Nab Top Positions

Rubbermaid and Corning were the two brands most often mentioned by discount store managers as best performers in their housewares departments, according to the 1988 Top Brands Survey.

However, housewares manufacturers suffered from what appears to be a growing ambivalence among store managers toward brands. As with most other product categories examined in the study this year, the number of brands mentioned by each individual store manager dropped, resulting in numerous percentage point decreases. The size of the survey population (304), and the survey questions remained unchanged from previous years.

Rubbermaid has topped the list of housewares brands store managers have named as category leaders since DSN started conducting Top Brands Surveys in 1983. This year was no exception. The vendor maintained its place at the top of the list, despite a loss of about 14 percent points of the store manager mentions it had received last year. Corning Labels Combined

For the first time, Corning could have overtaken Rubbermaid if all of Corning’s labels were combined (34 percent Rubbermaid vs. 45 percent for Corning products).

Corelle, Visions and Corning brand names took the second, third and fourth spots, respectively, this year. Increased mentions of these brands thereby pushed last year’s third place brand, Black & Decker, from No. 4 to No. 5, and knocked last year’s fifth place manufacturer, General Electric, off the top 10 list altogether.

The success of Corning products is probably linked to the introduction of its Iris pattern and the growing acceptance of its unrivaled Visions cookware line.

For years, consumers were limited to French White, Cornflower Blue and a few other Corning patterns. The Iris motif was the first Corning bakeware pattern to appeal strongly to the upscale discount store environment.

Corning, Corelle and Visions each gained most of their mentions from managers at the upscale discount chains like Target. Corelle and Visions lost several percentage points at conventional discount stores like K mart and Wal-Mart.

Corelle was up 12 percentage points at upscale discounters over last year, and up 9 percentage points at conventional chains. While the Corning name lost 13 percentage points of its manager mentions among conventional discounters, it gained a point at upscalers.

Visions too is gathering steam among discount store managers. Being the only glass cookware in the market which is suitable for use in microwave and conventional ovens and on rangetop has made it especially desirable at a time when the majority of U.S. households require cookware adaptable to all methods of cooking. (The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers estimates that roughly 75 percent of U.S. households own a microwave oven.)

The high performance ratings of Visions and Corning bakeware, however, occurred at least partly at the expense of Corning’s Pyrex bakeware. Pyrex, No. 10 in last year’s Top Brands Survey, plummeted to No. 17 (under 3 percent of total manager mentions) this year.

Store managers who named Rubbermaid and Corelle differed at times on which qualities led to their top performance ` status. For instance, advertising was much more of a factor among those who named Corelle (19 percent for Rubbermaid vs. 52 percent for Corelle).

Brand recognition appeared to be a more important performance component for Corelle than for Rubbermaid, but by a narrower margin. Fifty-five percent of store managers who named Corelle as a top housewares performer mentioned brand recognition as an essential element in a housewares brand’s success; 36 percent of store managers who named Rubbermaid said brand recognition was an important attribute.

Thirty-four percent of store managers who mentioned Rubbermaid cited product performance as key to a brand’s success; 21 percent of those who named Corelle named product performance as a key attribute.

Seventeen percent of store managers who said Rubbermaid was among their top performing housewares brands said good/low pricing was an important factor compared with 28 percent of those who named Corelle.

Among the top four discount chains, there was a tendency for K mart and Zayre store managers to be in agreement regarding what features are most important, and a fair amount of similarity between Wal-Mart and Target.

Both K mart and Zayre store managers considered advertising (especially manufacturer ads) to be important to product performance; about 40 percent of store managers at both chains mentioned advertising. K mart and Zayre store managers also reported product performance to be important by at least 40 percent of store managers.

At Wal-Mart and Target, advertising and product performance took a back seat to brand recognition. At Wal-Mart, 53 percent of store managers said brand recognition was key; 44 percent of Target managers also mentioned brand recognition.

Rubbermaid was most often the subject of additional store manager commentary. After answering the survey questions, store managers also added that Rubbermaid is a “Universal, No. 1 product,” and has “come a long way in the last three years; the products are a lot more appealing.” Durability and general product quality were also frequently mentioned.

Nonetheless, the drop in Rubbermaid mentions and the rise in Corning product mentions were especially dramatic among the top four chains: K mart, Wal-Mart, Zayre and Target. Rubbermaid mentions fell by 7 percentage points at K mart; 28 percentage points at Wal-Mart; 18 percentage points at Zayre, and 25 percentage points at Target.

Performance by Ekco, Revere and Regal, which were not among last year’s top 10, earned these vendors a place on the 1988 charts.

Additional store manager commentary beyond the survey questions indicated that product quality is considered to be a major factor in Revere’s performance.

PHOTO : Thirty-four percent of store managers named Rubbermaid a best housewares performer.

COPYRIGHT 1988 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group