retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Ad Week reports that The NPD Group is out with a new study, "Private Label Perceptions, Usage Patterns and Intentions," which says that “24 percent of all food and beverages served in American homes last year were store brands, up from 18 percent in 1999. Today, 97 percent of all households consume private label foods on a regular basis.”

The story notes that it isn’t just supermarkets that are benefitting from the trend, as convenience stores – many of which are expanding their efforts to compete with mainstream supermarkets – also embrace the effort: “This wave of acceptance supported 7-Eleven Inc.'s expansion of its private label line in recent months. Now with more than 200 private label products, the chain is working to add nearly 100 more items to its 7-Eleven and 7-Select brand lineup by the end of the year.”

According to the piece, “7-Eleven currently offers a broad spectrum of items, from lunch and sandwich bags to coffee filters and olive oil. One huge success for the chain is single-serve kettle chips. The chain introduced nine varieties, and seven are now in the retailer's top 10 selling SKUs in the category.”
KC's View:
There also is a report from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Ad Week writes, suggesting that the right balance is necessary and that “46 percent of shoppers have increased private label purchasing activity in response to economic hardship.”

When economic hardships end, the question is whether private brand enthusiasms will persist. I suspect that it will depend on the category, it will depend on the market, and it will depend on whether the private brand products have transcended the notion that their chief advantage is the price tag.