retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Advertising Age has a story about how Walmart, which "has stepped up investments in its own private labels the past two years," now also is "getting branded suppliers to launch – more accurately relaunch – products. That's turned the world's biggest retailer into a nostalgia broker lately."

For example, "Walmart's cereal buyer discovered a trend around indulgent cereals, especially as late-night snacks, as well as enduring social-media nostalgia Oreo O's, first launched in 1998 but discontinued in 2005 ... So the buyer went to Mondelez, owner of Oreos, and cereal maker Post, and told them: 'You need to bring this back. But this time we need you to do it better than ever,' Crozier said. The buyer 'worked with the suppliers very closely on reformulating it and making the product even better.'

"The result was relaunch of Oreo O's this week, starting for 90 days exclusively at Walmart ..."

The story goes on: "The nostalgia appeal plays out in some of Walmart's recent advertising playing off old rock anthems, too. But Walmart's stepped-up product development effort isn't all about nostalgia or other people's brands. Executives from Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies on down went to great lengths to highlight increased emphasis on quality as well as price ... This includes 'democratizing' organic foods through lower prices, such as with new organic applesauce pouches."
KC's View:
This story reminded me of a piece I did years ago, after Target announced that it had an exclusive deal to sell a special Oreo cookie for Halloween, with a vanilla biscuit and a candy corn-flavored filling. When I looked for them at my local Target, I found that they were buried amid all the other various kinds of Oreos, with absolutely nothing done to distinguish them just weeks before Halloween, or to point out that this was a Target exclusive, or anything else. It was, I suppose, a harbinger of a lot of the issues that have plagued Target recently.

I'm guessing Walmart won't make the same mistake. (I'm talking to you, Mr. McMillon.) Which is one of the reasons that Walmart seems to be doing a better job adapting to new realities than Target.