Edmund Scientific Experiments With Retail

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Science kit cataloger Edmund Scientific is conducting its own experiment these days with four retail mobile units located inside shopping malls, the Tonawanda, NY, company said yesterday.

Edmund Scientific sells science-related tools and toys to teachers, students and hobbyists. Its latest venture takes about 100 best sellers from the catalog and places them inside 150-square-foot mobile units in high-traffic shopping areas.

"We want to test the multichannel strategy," Edmund Scientific catalog manager Timothy Burns said. "We think we have the right kind of merchandise to sell at retail."

The company chose the mobile units because they can be done "at a reasonable cost," Burns continued. "If it's successful, it's the kind of thing we could scale up next year."

Edmund Scientific had a retail store for years under the brand's previous owners, and it "always performed well," Burns said. The Barrington, NJ, store closed in 2001 when Edmund Scientific was acquired by its current owner, Science Kit & Boreal Laboratories.

The company's catalog is displayed prominently on the counter of all of the kiosks, and its Web site, scientificsonline.com, is accessible at three of the four locations.

The first kiosk opened in late July, and the last one opened Oct. 1. The kiosks are in the Galleria Mall and on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY; McKinley Mall in Blasdell, NY; and Eastview Mall in Rochester, NY.

The kiosks are operating near break-even so far, Burns said.

"Summer was a tough time of year to open, but we wanted to learn as much as we could," he said. The company expects the kiosks to turn a profit once the holiday season kicks into gear.

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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