Private Brands Create Value for the 50 Most Valuable Retail Brands

Interbrand Design Forum, released it’s Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands report, the second annual ranking of the top 50 American retail brands. Walmart claimed top honors as the most valuable retail brand, followed by popular retailers Target, Best Buy, and Walgreens.

Intriguingly Private Brand is the underlying theme in many of the retailer explanations appearing in 9 of the 50 write-ups. This number becomes more impressive when specialty and online retailers are excluded (Ebay, Coach, Dell etc.) leaving 29 retailers. An impressive 31% of the remaining writeups include a Private Brand reference. Meanwhile close to 100% of those retailers have significant and evolving Private Brand programs.

The most striking shift in this year’s report is that despite the weakened economy, the Top 25 companies grew their brands’ value over last year. They not only survived, they prospered. However, the next 25 as a group lost value.

Broadly speaking, falling companies slashed prices, lost focus and chose not to renew their brand through investment or innovation. Rising companies had their brand proposition fully in place to take advantage of the downturn, invested in brand and convinced the customer of their relevance and worth.

This is Walmart’s second year as the top American retail brand, however the big news is how much the brand has grown in the last year. The economic downturn made it relevant to an even greater number of shoppers and its store remodel program “Project Impact”—less inventory, wider aisles, lack of in-aisle displays — paid off in high same-store sales. Walmart grew their brand value by 19%, or $25 billion, to $154 billion. It continues to be the most valuable retail brand in the world.

Target is another company that built brand value this year. With a 49% increase in brand value, Target leapfrogged to take the #2 spot on the list. As a brand-led company, Target focused on improving its operations and boosted its performance in the face of reduced growth without compromising brand. They streamlined their assets according to what matters most to its customers.

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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.