The Times They Are A – Changin’ – Retail, Private Brand & The Year Ahead

The five-word title to Bob Dylan’s legendary 1964 song accurately and succinctly describes the current state of the retail food industry. As retailers and consumer packaged goods suppliers start the year with high hopes and the best of intentions, success will be driven—in part—by their ability to recognize and respond to the latest trends and changes in the marketplace.  The January edition of Competitive Edge from Barrington, Ill.-based research firm Willard Bishop presents 12 trends that industry players will need to understand and accommodate to ensure a successful 2012. The trends include:

  1. Prices they keep a-risin’
  2. Continued growth of non-traditional retailers – Where did they come from
  3. Bigger is not necessarily better
  4. Driving incrementality with promotions
  5. Hybrid-EDLP is hot
  6. Second-Tier Private Label is First Choice of Many Shoppers
    Shoppers are increasingly looking for budget-stretching options and retailers are responding with private label.  National brand equivalent (NBE) private label provides retailers with a way to differentiate and help shoppers save money; at least 20% in many categories.  Additionally, we’re seeing more retailers implement and/or expand their offerings of economy/second-tier private label, i.e., commodity items priced lower than NBE private label, providing low opening price-points in their categories.  These items are designed to appeal to the specification buyer who is looking for the least expensive option in selected categories.  It’s also a way for supermarkets to compete against limited-assortment stores such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot that target the price-conscious/specification shopper.  And retailers who have expanded their second-tier assortments report that they’re selling more of it than they had anticipated, while undoubtedly preventing shopping trips to other stores/formats.  We expect to see second-tier private label brands such as Kroger Value, AWG’s Always Save, and Topco’s ValuTime and Clear Value in more shoppers’ baskets this year.
  7. End-caps Putting Best Foot Forward
  8. Destination means destination
  9. Facebook friends
  10. Extreme Grouponing
  11. Let’s Make it Persona
  12. Year of the Man

Read the write the report on all twelve trends.



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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.