Chapter 1 Case Study: Girl Scout Cookies
What’s Your Favorite Cookie?
Almost since the foundation of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America in 1912, cookie sales have played a major role in supporting the Girl Scouts organization at the council and troop levels. By now, cookie sales have grown into a major moneymaking operation, bringing in over $714 million per year. Recent years, however, have seen cookie sales lagging with nearly six years of year-over-year declines of about 1 percent each until the trend reversed last year. The recent economic downturn hasn’t helped matters either. After a restructuring of its operations in 2004, the Girl Scouts have made several changes to the program that they hope will help spark sales and create cost saving opportunities. This year, Girl Scout troops will be selling cookie boxes at $4 even, up from the $3.50 price tag mandated in 2006. Before that, local councils were allowed to set their own prices, resulting in price wars as some troops attempted to undercut each other to increase sales. Portions on some cookie varieties have been reduced by one ounce per box, and other cookie varieties will use plastic packaging instead of more expensive cardboard. The Girl Scouts will also be asking certain troops to reduce their cookie lineups to just six varieties. The six top-selling cookies—Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes, and Tagalongs—account for about 77 percent of cookie sales, and many attempts to create cookies geared toward specific markets have not fared well in recent years. The Dulce de Leche cookies, based on classic Latin American treats, were designed to appeal to Hispanic markets as part of the Girl Scouts’ broader diversity initiatives. However, sales figures did not seem to indicate any particular market preference for that variety. A “diabetic-friendly” sugarfree chocolate-chip variety also failed to generate a significant sales boost. While funds from cookie...
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