Grocers' Frills Fail To Thrill

SUPERMARKETS, MONUMENTS to consumer goods and convenience, aren't getting many takers for a spate of new offerings. In recent years, they've added such extras as flowers, video kiosks, and catering services. But a survey by the Food Marketing Institute finds that few shoppers partake: Only 11% of supermarket shoppers, for instance, buy videos there. And the other frills are about as popular.

Why? Marketing consultants say people simply aren't comfortable getting some things from a supermarket. Take flowers. People don't think they're fresh at the grocery store, says Chuck Bazemore of Atlantis Group in Atlanta. For videos, the problem is a limited selection that can't compete with video-rental emporiums' variety. Catering by the local supermarket lacks cachet.

Grocers remain hopeful that more and more people will use the extras. They disagree that consumers are staying away. Well, there is one new convenience that consumers like. ATMs at supermarkets, where cash is king, are used almost as much as the ones outside banks.

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