Yesterday the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran a great article on Bentonville retail giant Walmart’s private brand program. They quote Jack Pestello, senior vice president of food and consumables for Walmart’s U.S. operations “So we made it a core pillar of our strategy to say we are going to have a solid private-brand program at Walmart because it’s really core to helping people save money and live better.”
Walmart wants brand to sparkle
At testing center, retailer working on aura of its private label
BENTONVILLE — Nearly a year before Unicorn Sparkle Ice Cream showed up in Walmart stores’ freezers, product developers conjured up the idea for the sweet treat that ties in to the current craze for the mythical beast.
The cake-flavored ice cream’s bright swirls of pink, turquoise and yellow are mixed with “magical” purple glitter frosting and star-shaped candy “confetti.” The whimsical concept extends even to the packaging, which includes a seal assuring concerned kids and vegetarians that the product “does not contain real unicorns.”
Unicorn Sparkle is among the newest items to bear the Great Value label, one of Walmart Inc.’s top-selling private-label brands. The Bentonville retailer has dozens of store brands across its operations, about 25 of which fall in the areas of food and consumables — common household items like trash bags and toilet paper.
Industry experts say private-label brands, especially in grocery, help Walmart differentiate itself from its competitors and increase store visits. This in turn can boost sales of higher-margin items.
Jack Pestello, senior vice president of food and consumables for Walmart’s U.S. operations, said the company decided about four years ago to “get really serious about private brands.” It already had built some strong brands such as Great Value, Equate and Marketside, he said, “but we had some gaps.”