April 4, 2017

Amazon’s stock gets a bump from private label

Several outlets, including ValueWalk, reported that Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali bumped up Amazon’s stock target price from $965 to $970, fueled by a “growing number of [brick-and-mortar] store closings.” Squali gave some of the credit to Amazon’s potential in the private label arena. “He found that most of the online retailer’s private labels are in the electronics vertical, although he sees great opportunities in apparel, which makes up $24 billion in gross sales. His checks suggest that more private label brands are coming from the company,” ValueWalk stated. (ValueWalk)


September 19, 2017

Get ready to see a lot more private label at Strack & Van Til

Jeff Strack is president and CEO for the new Indiana Grocery Group 18 Strack & Van Til stores and two Town & Country stores. He spoke about the challenges he’s faced and the changes in store at the Morning Business Hour program at First Financial Bank in New York, reported the Chicago Tribune. “We lost 3,800 jobs in 9 months,” Strack told the newspaper. “[I] had to repair [our] relationships with employees and venders and reestablish [our] reputation.” Strack added that “they are going back to a lot of private label Strack & Van Til products. ‘We will have 4,000 of our own brand items,’” he was quoted as saying. (Chicago Tribune)

September 12, 2017

The Amazon effect: Whole Foods experiences 25% jump in shoppers

Since Amazon closed on its acquisition of Whole Foods Market, customer traffic to the grocery chain has jumped by 25%. Bloomberg reported that “Amazon has had success selling the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand through its website. It put about 2,000 private-label products on the site after the deal closed and sold out of almost all of them, according to One Click Retail. The company said web sales of Whole Foods branded items through Amazon totaled $500,000 in the first week.” (Bloomberg)

September 8, 2017

Kroger’s private label log lawsuit against Lidl dismissed

Citing legal documents filed late this week, WRAL has reported that, after getting a trial date for Jan. 2018, both Kroger and Lidl “came to an agreement and requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.” Kroger had alleged that Lidl’s “Preferred Selection” was too similar to its own “Private Selection.” A little more than a month ago, Lidl’s attorneys responded to the suit, stating that Lidl had acted in good faith when selecting the Preferred Selection name and logo. “At this time, we do not know if Lidl will be making any changes to their products,” WRAL added. (WRAL)

August 2, 2017

Walmart shakes up U.S. leadership teams in food, merchandising

Walmart is making big changes to its food leadership team, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters. “The changes come at a time when the world's largest retailer has been conducting price tests across several U.S. states and pushing vendors to undercut rivals,” according to the report, which also pointed to increased pressures from Lidl and the expansion of Aldi, who with strong private brands portfolios have “raised the stakes for American grocery chain operators.” (Reuters)

July 27, 2017

Supervalu snaps up Central Grocers warehouse

Supervalu Holdings is buying Central Grocers' Joliet distribution center for $61 million, reported the Chicago Tribune. The deal, approved by a bankruptcy court judge earlier this week, may put more store brands in supermarkets: “Consumers likely will notice a greater variety of store-branded items in grocery stores previously served by Central Grocers, which operated as a wholesaler for more than 400 independent stores in the Chicago area.” (Chicago Tribune)

July 26, 2017

Round one to Lidl US in trademark dispute

A judge in Richmond early this week denied Kroger's request to stop Lidl from using the “Preferred Selection” logo, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. made the call “after a day of testimony in which both sides presented expert witnesses who surveyed consumers to gauge confusion over the product logos … and set the case for a bench trial Jan. 11.” According to the report, Kroger officials made Lidl aware of their concerns about the similarity of the logos last year when Lidl filed its trademark application. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

July 17, 2017

Is Amazon getting too big?

The Whole Foods acquisition has sparked a call for Amazon antitrust scrutiny, according to an article in the Seattle Times late last week, prompting a U.S. lawmaker to call for “hearings on the proposed deal to consider its ramifications for shoppers and workers. Hedge-fund manager Doug Kass has taken a short position on the fast-growing online retailer, saying government antitrust concerns will erode its value. A key legal question is whether Amazon has grown to the point of discouraging innovation from competitors.” (The Seattle Times)

July 17, 2017

Lidl US attorneys respond to Kroger's private brands logo lawsuit

Attorneys for Lidl US have responded to Kroger’s lawsuit, filed June 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Kroger alleges that Lidl’s “Preferred Selection” own brand label is infringing on its trademarked own brand “Private Selection” label. “Grocery giant Kroger does not have the right to preclude others from using generic terms in connection with any good or service.… Lidl denies that its use of Preferred Selection is likely to cause confusion, likely to cause dilution or constitutes unfair competition,” Lidl attorneys were quoted as saying, adding that “[Lidl] acted in good faith when it chose its Preferred Selection logo and that Kroger has not suffered any harm.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

May 12, 2017

Reuters: Aldi looking to topple Walmart as EDLP leader

Walmart may no longer be king of the EDLP hill, Reuters reported Thursday. An internal Aldi study found that the prices across the 1,600-store discount grocer are 21% lower than any rival, including Walmart. Aldi CEO Jason Hart plans to press that pricing advantage with a capital expenditureof $1.6 billion to expand and remodel 1,300 U.S. stores and open 400 new stores mainly in Florida, Texas and on both coasts by end of 2018, he told Reuters. According to the report, Aldi carries about 1,200 SKUs, 90% of which are private label. Comparitively, Walmart stocks as many as 40,000 SKUs, 30% of which are private label. (Reuters)

May 2, 2017

Report: Cherry Hill, N.J. location approved for Lidl opening in 2018

Local media outlet NJ Pen on Tuesday reported that a site was approved for German grocer Lidl in Cherry Hill, N.J. Lidl was cleared to build its first store at 400 Route 38 by a unanimous vote of the township planning board Monday night. Patrick Lyons, development manager for Lidl US, told NJ Pen that the grocery chain comprises 95% private-label products of its own design, which allows it to control costs and manage logistics. The Cherry Hill store would be supplied by a hub in Cecil County, Md., he said. The first Lidl store expected to come online in South Jersey is due to open in Vineland sometime next year, Lyons added. (NJ Pen)

April 10, 2017

Report: Store brand growth not tied to household income, necessarily

The Great Recession may have mitigated the impact rising household incomes have on consumption of a retailer's own brands, according to new research from the Chicago Booth Review, a publication of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "Where past research has suggested that a 1% fall in real GDP per capita yields a 1.22% annual jump in the private-label share of Americans’ shopping baskets, this study finds household income and wealth have a much smaller impact," the Chicago Booth Review reported. "Even so, the researchers note that private-label goods are rising as a portion of total consumer-goods expenditure, by a half a percent a year, in a trend that predates the Great Recession." (Chicago Booth Review)

April 7, 2017

Report: Del Monte to exit own brand business

Del Monte Pacific will be exiting the own brands production business in an effort to streamline operations, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Friday. The company had just raised $200 million on the Philippine Stock Exchange and has plans to expand both its Latin American and Asia-Pacific businesses. "DMPL COO Cito Alejando said the priority would be to grow the branded consumer business in the U.S., which accounted for 80% of the group’s portfolio," the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. "The coming fiscal year, he said, would be all about increasing the branded businesses, including vegetables, fruits and tomato." (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)

March 27, 2017

The eight private-label brands that may transform Amazon into a fashion powerhouse

Will Amazon be able to become a fashion powerhouse under its own brands? According to the Los Angeles Times, that’s the question the industry is facing right now as online shopping continues diverting traffic away from stores in a quickly evolving retail landscape. “The answer,” the article stated, “starts with the eight brands Amazon already is developing into its private-label stable. They open up a window on its in-house fashion ambitions and show a company looking to take advantage of its scale and traffic with basic looks that can build replenishment businesses.” The brands to keep your eyes open for are Lark & Ro, Ella Moon, Mae, Paris Sunday, Amazon Essentials, Buttoned Down, Goodthreads and Scout + Ro. (Los Angeles Times)

March 21, 2017

Report: Marine Harvest adding spice to store-brand pre-packaged fish

Marine Harvest is tailoring its chilled, pre-packaged offering to different regions of the U.S. by adding flavors to its store-brand products, Undercurrent News reported Monday. “To add flavors, either with sauces, spices, rubs or marinades, is the natural evolution from starting with a natural, fresh product," Ola Brattvoll, COO sales and marketing Marine Harvest, told Undercurrent News. "We are offering more variety and more options for consumers. As pre-pack grows more in the U.S., this is going to continue.” (Undercurrent News)

March 16, 2017

Bloomberg: Kirkland Signature spirits proves uplifting to Costco

Own-brand spirits are proving to be a significant boon to Costco's bottom line, Bloomberg reported Thursday. "Kirkland Signature has been key to its success. The retailer began selling wine under the brand in 2003, followed by spirits in 2007. It also has a line of craft beers," Bloomberg reported. And where many store brands emphasize value, Kirkland Signature spirits emphasize quality, the report noted. “Private label continues to grow as a dominant strategy in retail — especially when it migrates from being a ‘label’ to more of a ‘brand,’ which Kirkland has done,” David Bassuk, managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners, told Bloomberg. “Now it’s a well-known name and gives the consumer a perception of value and a good deal.” (Bloomberg)