This is the final post in a series of three about my visits to a Publix and Dollar General located in Greenville, South Carolina. At the end of my last post I promised you a look at the Private Brand portfolio strategy of both retailers. That is a daunting task and I preface it by saying that my observations are very high level and based on my shopping experience. I like to push a grocery cart around the store and shop, there is no substitute for actually shopping. So, I spent about a half hour in each store, obviously a proper analysis of their Private Brand portfolio strategies would require a extended and very detailed analysis, so on with the show.
Much has been written about Publix Private Brands over the last few years, and they have done a great job of implementing their brand strategy and more importantly their design strategy which is immediately visible in their stores. However setting design aside they are really working from a two tier Private Brand portfolio architecture.
When their natural and organic brand Greenwise is added into the portfolio, it has a remarkable similarity to many other retailers, including both Loblaw’s and Walmart. Publix has a done a great job with their Private Brands I believe their challenge will come as the portfolio ages how will they refresh their brands and bring both design and product innovation to their customers.
Dollar General is also implementing a two-tier portfolio architecture, however their portfolio is much broader with most of the brands living at their mid tier. Those brands include: DG – health and beauty, Everpet – the pet care, Study Time – school and office supplies, DG Home – home decor, Premier International, clothing, DG Value – value and many more. The key difference in their portfolio is their brands shift down the value scale and do no live at the premium level.
It appears that Dollar General’s portfolio is in transition and there may be a overall shift in how Private Brands are positioned and implemented. The redesign of Clover Valley is clearly a watershed moment and may be signaling a reinterpretation of the entire portfolio. They appear to be shifting from an Aldi model of “a house of brands” to something more akin to Targets varied portfolio model. This model creates relevant well-positioned brands where needed and adjusts the portfolio architecture depending on the department within the store. So instead of the rigid portfolio architecture of Publix they are able to adapt to each departments needs without the creating undifferentiated labels. As you look at the pictures there is obviously alot of opportunity for Dollar General to improve their Private Brands.