Retailers shouldn’t have difficulty boosting cherry sales if they add secondary displays, according to research sponsored by the Northwest Cherry Growers.

A 2009 study by West Dundee, Ill.-based Nielsen Perishables Group on behalf of the Yakima, Wash.-based grower group found stores with secondary cherry displays increased sales by 22% and volume sold by 13% compared with stores with no secondary displays.

More than half of cherry purchases — 53% are made on impulse to begin with, said James Michael, promotion director for Northwest Cherry Growers, Yakima. By providing additional encounters with the fruit in the store, retailers can increase the chances the consumer will cave in to their urge.

Northwest Cherry Growers offers secondary displays units to retailers, he said.

Through July, cherries earn retailers more per square foot than any other item in the produce department, Michael said. Even later in the season, cherries remain one of the top in total department sales.

“If you give them more space, you’ll earn more,” Michael said.

But secondary displays do have a downside. Because most are not refrigerated, the fruit tends to soften faster and may require a higher turnover to maintain quality.

Some retailers have managed the perishability issue by putting secondary displays by check stands only during the busy 4-6 p.m. rush, said Scott Marboe, director of marketing for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash.

“They sell like hotcakes,” he said.

The adoption of secondary displays also varies widely among retailers and even among individual stores within the same retail chain, said Mac Riggan, vice president of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing Inc., Chelan, Wash.

“Some of them just don’t want to bother with it, and others are very proactive,” he said. “They’ve seen studies that have shown the secondary display, especially by the check register, will increase sales.”

Chelan Fresh Marketing last year shipped out 600 to 700 secondary displays to retailers. Some came from Northwest Cherries, while others had the Chelan Fresh logo.

Riggan said he’d like to see more this year, but it depends on how many can be delivered to retailers.

Marboe said he also has seen variable adoption of secondary displays.

“It’s kind of interesting that certain retailers in certain stores have really taken advantage of it,” he said.

One retailer, for example, put a secondary display near the frozen food section to capitalize on pairing ice cream with cherries, Marboe said.

Stemilt Growers LLC, Wenatchee, also has personalized its secondary displays with the firm’s logo and images. Last year, the company shipped thousands of units to retailers.

“It gives the customer more face-time with cherries,” Pepperl said.

A few years ago, Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, introduced a promotional sleeve that slips over two apple boxes to create an 18- by-12-inch display, said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager. Each unit holds eight to 16 2- to 2½-pound bags.

“It adds to that impulse, and the majority of cherries are bought on impulse,” he said. “You can place it at the entryway to the store, in the dairy department near the yogurt, near the check stand. It’s a very versatile unit.”