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For its first time, mail-order pet supply company Doctors Foster and Smith of Rhinelander, Wis., will market its branded pet products on a retailer’s shelves—specifically on endcaps in 898 Target stores.

Beginning July 15, Target began merchandising selected dry and canned dog food as well as a paw-print dog bed and furniture throw, Doctors Foster and Smith reported.

Target will offer dry foods, including Chicken & Rice formula, senior formula and puppy formula, and the company’s adult canned foods and Country Classic Dinners line.
 
The throw is the most popular pattern in the company’s dog furniture line.

In addition to more exposure for its brand, the broader distribution could provide purchasing flexibility for dog owners feeding Doctors Foster and Smith’s dog food.

Product packaging will emphasize the DrsFosterSmith.com and PetEducation.com websites to help pet owners become better educated about caring for their pets, the company reported.

Target will not sell the Drs. Foster and Smith online, said Gordon Magee, Internet marketing and analysis manager for the Rhinelander-based company.

“With distribution on the retail shelves at Target, we will have the ability to educate and positively influence a far greater segment of the pet loving market,” said Dr. Race Foster, company co-founder.

In turn, the DrsFosterSmith website will indicate which products are also available at Target.

Doctors Foster and Smith expects the July launch to be just the beginning of a broader relationship with Target, Magee said. The company expects to expand that relationship beyond dog products and beyond the current endcap slots.

Target approached Doctors Foster and Smith about working together, Magee said.

The program is not part of a broader initiative to place its products into retail distribution, he said.

Posted: July 6, 2007

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