Should I Stay or Should I Go? Sam’s Choice & Walmart.

Sams Choice1

I try to walk our local Walmart regularly but it had been a few weeks since I was able to walk the store and spend some time in the aisles. I am constantly surprised by the evolving space that is Walmart and by the hints of a Private Brand portfolio strategy. The new Great Value redesign is flowing in nicely and despite what appears to be some design architecture inconsistencies it looks pretty good and it is definitely doing its job, the new white design jumps out of the long aisles and has begun to create something bigger than itself, a recognizable, reassuring modern brand.

GreatValue Sams Choice2

Then it hit me many of the products that had been formerly branded as the Walmart premium brand Sam’s Choice where disappearing and I had to rewalk the aisles. The juices the crackers and the premium salsa, were there side-by-side, the same product was rebranded as Great Value. The Sam’s Choice Free Trade coffee and gourmet cookies were still there but clearly something was going on. What are they doing? Then I discovered Great Value on cleaning products and detergents, this is big, bigger than I had imagined.

Here are my Walmart Private Brand portfolio questions?

  1. Is Sam’s Choice being eliminated? It still exists in the deli on the take and bake pizzas.
  2. Is Sam’s Choice becoming the fresh/meal solutions brand?
  3. Is Great Value moving towards the Kirkland/Costco model of one expansive brand?
  4. How far can Great Value stretch?
  5. Will Walmart introduce a new premium brand?
  6. With these dramatic shifts can a redesign of Equate be far behind
  7. Is there an overarching Private Brand Portfolio strategy at work?

What do you think?



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.