John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. named Phil Gorski as the company’s business manager responsible for focusing on the growing club store channel.

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. (JBSS) named Phil Gorski as the company’s business manager responsible for focusing on the growing club store channel.

Gorski comes from PepsiCo, where he was responsible for leading the Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade product category initiatives at Costco stores. Prior to that, he was the director of sales for TimeWarner at BJ’s Wholesale Club, the nation’s third largest club store chain. JBSS, owner of the Fisher brand, produces and sells shelled and in-shell nuts and snacks. Gorski’s appointment takes place immediately.

“The club store channel is clearly an area of growth for JBSS. We have tailored our product line in recent years to a demographic that wants high quality, convenience and value,” says Ron Williamson, JBSS vice president of sales and marketing, for the Elgin, Ill.-based company. “Hiring a proven veteran in this important channel underscores that commitment.”

According to a 2008 Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) report, the weakened economy has been a boom for club stores as budget-conscious shoppers look for bulk deals. In fact, MRI said traffic at club stores grew faster than the U.S. population last year.

The number of people who shopped at club stores including Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club increased 3.6% from September 2006 to April 2008. According to MRI survey data, the number of club store shoppers with household incomes of $75,000 annually grew nearly 12% over the same period.
                                                           
Club store shoppers are “quite upscale,” MRI reports.

“It’s now clear that a greater number of affluent consumers are being careful with their hard-earned dollars during this economic downturn,” says Anne Marie Kelly, vice president of marketing and strategic planning, for the New York City-based firm. “Marketers may wish to take note that price-sensitive strategies and messages will increasingly resonate even with the well-heeled.”