Private Brand Fashion Takes the Lead at Americas Department Stores

Private and exclusive brands have taken the forefront at many retailers and so it should be no surprise that department stores have begun to use them as powerful tools to attract customers and build differentiation. The strategies vary from the seeming over proliferation of Kohl’s to the studied restraint of Neiman Marcus and everywhere in between. This article from the Dallas Morning News takes a look at the growth or both Private Brands and exclusive brands in department stores.

Department stores lure shoppers with exclusive product lines

Department stores are evolving again.

In the 1990s, there were dozens of regional chains dotting the four corners of malls, and they were criticized for looking alike and taking the excitement out of shopping.

Then came consolidation, with Macy’s surviving atop a heap of names. Today, the 10 largest department store companies are as diverse in ambiance and price as Sears and Neiman Marcus and Kohl’s and Saks.

The few surviving chains are reinventing and divvying up brands they all used to carry, turning them into exclusives.

Tommy Hilfiger and Ellen Tracy are available only at Macy’s. Dana Buchman is only at Kohl’s and, later this fall, Liz Claiborne will be only at J.C. Penney.

Major chains are drafting celebrities such as Madonna and Cindy Crawford and Lauren Conrad to bring them the next hot line that will draw traffic to their stores.

“Every store is now looking for a reason to exist, to have a point of view and to pull away from the pack,” said Mark Mendelson, chief executive of Ellen Tracy Inc.

Read the entire story.

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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.