Walmart Hints at Expanded Private Brand Strategy.

Great Value SodaIn an article published yesterday by the Fayetteville, Arkansas daily The Morning News, Andrea Thomas, Walmart senior vice president of private label brands discussed the evolving Walmart Private Brand Strategy. She confirmed the progress being made on the Great Value roll out and mentioned the recent redesign of their wildly successful Private Brand dog food Ol’ Roy. Thomas then painted a picture of Great Value’s place in the pantheon of American mega-brands:

The Walmart Great Value brand is the largest consumer packaged goods brand in the United States, Thomas said.

The private label is in a league with other national brands reporting more than $200 million in sales. Those national brands include Coca-Cola, Tide, Cheerios, Ocean Spray and Starkist Tuna.

Watching Walmart is like watching Lost just as soon as one question/mystery is answered a dozen more spring up. Here are a few:

  1. Is this the proverbial line in the sand?
  2. Is Walmart stepping up to claim its place as a national brand?
  3. What is next for the Walmart Private Brand Portfolio? New brands: Premium, Hispanic, Organic, Kids
  4. When will Equate be redesigned and relaunched?


Wal-Mart Exec Discusses Private Label Effort

Wal-Mart isn’t limiting its private label relaunch and product reformulation to the Great Value brand, said Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. senior vice president of private label brands.

Thomas spoke Wednesday to about 200 people at the Embassy Suites in Rogers. The talk was part of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce Champions speaker series.

“We are probably three-quarters of the way through the rollout” of the private label relaunch, she said.

The effort includes repackaging and reformulating thousands of Great Value products across more than 100 categories, from peanut butter and detergent to trash bags and kids’ cereal, to launching new products like vegetable medley frozen pizza and chocolate waffle cone individual ice cream cups.

Read the entire article.

More on Andrea Thomas from the Bentonville/Belle Vista Chamber of Commerce website:

Andrea-ThomasAndrea B. Thomas is senior vice president of Private Brands for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. She leads the brand management, product development, and co-manufacturing activities for the $15 billion portfolio of private brands in the grocery, dry goods, health & beauty, pharmacy and pet categories. Theses brands include Great Value, Sam’s Choice, Equate, and Ol’ Roy.

Prior to joining Wal-Mart in October 2007, Thomas was vice president, Global Innovation of The Hershey Company. In this role, Thomas was responsible for platform innovation for Hershey’s portfolio of global brands including Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kisses, and IceBreakers. She led the work that identifies new platform opportunities for growth, based on consumer and marketplace trends and insights, translating them into sustainable product and partnership ideas that deliver profitable growth. She was instrumental in the development of Cacao Reserve by Hershey’s, the Starbucks line of Premium Chocolate launching in early 2008, and the Hershey entry strategy for India.

Previously, Thomas was vice president, Innovation at Frito-Lay, Inc. In this position, she was responsible for managing Frito-Lay’s salty snack innovation pipeline, creating over $1 billion in new product platforms. Prior to this role, Thomas served as vice president, Retail Marketing and Promotions at Frito-Lay, and led the marketing efforts for the Fritos and Tostitos brands, including the launch of Tostitos Scoops and the sponsorships of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Daytona 500. Prior to joining Frito-Lay, she was director, New Product Marketing, at Pizza Hut, Inc.

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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.