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Spooky Season Kicks Off With New Trends

Meijer shares outlook for fall season, which is pegged to be a robust one
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Halloween pet costume
According to Meijer, more shoppers are seeking out costumes for their pets this year.

Grocers aiming to scare up sales during the Halloween selling season are tapping into trends to meet shopper interests and needs. Earlier this month, the National Retail Federation (NRF) projected that consumers will shell out a record $12.2 billion for Halloween goods, topping last year’s record.

Décor is a big part of that spend. In produce and floral categories, the Halloween and autumn staples of pumpkins and gourds continue to be ripe for sales. In its outlook for Halloween, Michigan-based Meijer shared that it expects to sell more than a million pumpkins across its six-state footprint this year and reported that sales of ornamental varieties of pumpkins and gourds spiked 60% in 2022. As with other produce items, many retailers are touting locally sourced varieties; in Chicago, for example, Dom's Kitchen & Market promotes the fact that its mini, heirloom, carving and pie pumpkins are grown in the Midwest.

Meanwhile, retailers that carry costumes are likely to find that dressing up isn’t just for kids anymore. Meijer underscored that trend, relaying that dressing up with a pet is a big trend for 2023 and costumes for adults are gaining in popularity.

As shoppers get in the Halloween spirit, grocers have opportunities across numerous categories. The seasonal and candy aisles, of course, remain top destinations. Meijer reported that it is adding new store brand candies, like chocolate eyeballs and gummy candy corn.

The flurry of pumpkin spice limited-time products that were rolled out as early as August are also appealing to consumers who are entertaining for the season, along with Halloween-specific items. The adult beverage category has a lot of activity in this space, with offerings like Halloween-themed wines and beers. Angry Orchard, for instance, is offering a Crisp Apple King Size hard cider designed for sharing and pairing with candy.

[Read more: "Fall Beer and Wine Review"]

"Halloween is such a fun celebration for friends and families, and Meijer is here to make that fun a bit easier on parents' time and wallets," said Lynette Ackley, group VP of health and beauty, consumables and hardlines at Meijer. "As a one-stop-shop, families can make Meijer their Halloween destination for décor, candy, party supplies and costumes for everyone – even their favorite four-legged friends – at an increased value."

Some grocers are taking a cue from consumer trends and throwing their own parties. Bashas’ is bringing back in-store Halloween celebrations at more than 40 of its locations on Saturday, Oct. 28. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., shoppers can take part in activities like a costume contest, departmental trick or treating, free samples and cake and cookie decorating. Bashas’ is also spotlighting its seasonal assortment that includes caramel apples, pumpkin cookies and candy.

Privately owned Meijer operates 500-plus supercenters, Meijer Grocery, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company is No. 23 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and Top 10 Most Sustainable Grocers

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