Loblaw's Fashion Loblaws

Private Brand Glamour: Joe Fresh.

\"joe-fresh1\"Take a look at this great article from the Toronto newspaper Globe & Mail it gives some great insight and background into the Loblaws Private Brand Joe Fresh. I previously wrote a post on the launch of the Joe Fresh makeup line, \”Joe Fresh Makes Up Loblaw\’s.\” So this seven-page article is an interesting follow up.

Grocery-aisle glamour

How did a clothing line launched by Loblaws become Canada\’s No. 2 brand? The creative mind behind Joe Fresh takes stock of its success-and the challenges it faces this year

Spring may be arriving for most of us, but in the fashion industry, the fall season has already begun.
These are some of the creative minds and companies that are shaping trends this year, in one of the toughest business environments ever

In a mere three years, Joe Fresh Style has leaped to No. 2 among Canada\’s top clothing brands-while also serving as an unlikely silver lining in Loblaw Cos. Ltd.\’s wider revitalization efforts.

Knock-offs of couture designs play well to today\’s recessionista, and the upstart apparel line has also cashed in on growing demand for yoga and athletic wear, a move that appeals to both Loblaws\’ core suburban customer and its sophisticated city shopper (Lululemon-like yoga pants: $24, a quarter of the price of the real thing).

Still, with less than $400 million in sales in 2007, Joe Fresh is a drop in Loblaw Co.\’s annual $30.8 billion of revenues. And the apparel line likely won\’t hit the company\’s ambitious sales target of $1 billion by 2010, acknowledges creative director Joe Mimran. \”I wouldn\’t say it\’s not realistic,\” says Mimran, who co-founded the stylish Club Monaco fashion chain before moving on to the eponymous Joe Fresh. (Polo Ralph Lauren, an iconic brand in its own right, acquired Club Monaco in 1999.) \”But it\’s a tough number. You don\’t want to throw a number out there and achieve it at any price.\”

It\’s also a tough year. Here\’s a look at five issues Mimran will be dealing with as he prepares for the fall season-and aims for that elusive $1-billion target.


At its few stores in urban centres, Joe Fresh sells out of small sizes almost as soon as they hit the shelves. But at its more numerous suburban outlets, particularly in Western Canada, the smaller sizes can languish while extra-larges are snapped up. In B.C., smaller sizes are popular because of large numbers of Asian-Canadians, who tend to be diminutively built.

But the chain doesn\’t have a sophisticated forecasting system to gauge individual store demand-or a customized inventory system that can select different mixes of sizes for individual stores. For now, each store gets the same assortment of smalls, mediums, larges and extra-larges, meaning some sizes are often unavailable, while others have to be marked down at the end of the season, which slices profit.

Loblaws needs to get the right systems in place to properly predict demand and serve the needs of each location, Mimran says. \”We can only move as fast as the whole company moves on certain things. We still don\’t have all the tools in our bag.\”


Joe Fresh relies on overseas sourcing to keep its costs low. But these days, the economics of global shipments are tricky. The rapid drop in the value of the Canadian dollar against U.S. currency can boost sourcing expenses, since overseas purchases are made in greenbacks. And the Chinese market isn\’t as stable as it once was-some suppliers have gone out of business, or are on the brink.

Already, about 5% of the Joe Fresh overseas orders aren\’t making it to Canada, or are arriving late, Mimran says. \”We started to see it in the fall. We\’ve got to be vigilant to ensure we don\’t have too many gaps occurring in our production.\”

To shield himself from currency fluctuations, he\’s looking at a hedging program to lock in the value of the dollar for a set time. \”You\’ve got to protect yourself and ensure you have the margins necessary so that you won\’t get caught flat-footed.\” As well, staff constantly uses their purchasing clout to renegotiate prices.

Read More at the Globe & Mail website.

Bi-Lo Food Lion Loblaws Walmart

Private Brand is Clear Value.


BI-LO the one-time Ahold owned grocer based in my hometown of Mauldin, South Carolina featured its Clear Value brand on the back page of its weekly circular this week.  For those of you unfamiliar with BI-LO the grocery chain operates more than 200 stores in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

According to Wikipedia:

BI-LO was founded in 1961 by Frank L. Outlaw. The original name was Wrenn & Outlaw. The company was officially named BI-LO in 1963 after Outlaw conducted an employee store-naming contest to develop the \”brand.\” His secretary, Edna Plumblee, won the contest by submitting the name \”BI-LO.\” BI-LO was sold to Ahold (a Dutch retail food conglomerate) in 1977. In 1994, Ahold purchased Red Food Stores, Inc. and merged its locations (around 55 of them) in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee into BI-LO the following year. In 2001, Ahold purchased the Birmingham, Alabama based Bruno\’s Supermarkets chain and combined its operations with BI-LO.

In 2005, Ahold sold BI-LO/Bruno\’s to Lone Star Funds. In order to concentrate on renovating older stores, building new ones, and investing in newer information technology, the new owners sold off 104 BI-LO and Bruno\’s stores in areas where the chain did not have significant market penetration as well as the three BI-LO/Bruno\’s distribution centers to grocery wholesaler, C&S Wholesale Grocers who converted some of the stores to Southern Family Markets.

\"bilo-cv-pizza\"Clear Value is the BI-LO value tier Private Brand. It clearly shows the Ahold (Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Stop & Shop, Pea Pod and Martins) past looking and feeling remarkable similar to the current Ahold value tier brand: Guaranteed Value. Both of these brands also fall into the family of broader value tier Private Brands including: Kroger Value, Tesco Value, Smart Option (Delhaize) and No Name Brand (Loblaw). These brands are finding increasing relevance and growing sales in the current economic conditions.


Loblaw's Fashion Loblaws

Joe Fresh Makes Up Loblaws


Canadian Private Brand legend, grocer and big-box retailer Loblaw plans to extend its fashion forward Private Brand Joe Fresh into makeup, the Joe Fresh Style makeup collection The collection created by Canadian designer, Joe Mimran is currently in 250 Loblaw Superstores throughout Canada and features more than 60 shades blush, eye shadow and lipstick as well as brushes and accessories.

The introduction of Private Brand make up, seems to be on the upswing as retailers attempt to find some bright spots in the economy, including Walgreens, Target and CVS to name just a few.
Read more about Joe Fresh Style in this excerpt from The Calgary Herald

Joe Fresh adds cosmetics to Superstore line
By Chantal Eustace
\"joelogo\"… Joe Mimran says shoppers can expect eight eye products, with 61 shades in total; eight lip products, with 69 shades; seven face products, with 47 shades; 13 makeup brushes and 13 cosmetic accessories, including eyebrow grooming and pedicure kits.

The line has been a year in the making and Mimran is happy with the end result, right down to the sleek packaging.

\”It\’s all quite clean lines, again very in keeping with the brand,\” he says.

It\’s good, too.

The lip gloss is creamy, not too sticky, with plenty of colour and shine. Eyeshadows, which go on nicely, are available in fun colours including vivid green and light purple. We especially like the double-ended concealer, liquid on one end and solid on the other.

So now the Joe Army, clad in $19 tunic dresses and $24 wool sweaters, can make up their faces with on-brand beauty stuff…



Kroger Up 8% on Strength of Private Brands.

This week Cincinnati based grocer, Kroger reported that 200 fourth-quarter profits rose 8% (Dow Jones Newswire) from a year ago as sales of its Private Brands reached record-highs. Kroger further reported that is Private Brands hit a record 35% of total grocery unit sales, driven by the Kroger Value and Kroger Private Selection brands. Kroger operates 2,481 stores in 31 states, as well as regional chains including Ralph\’s, Fred Meyer and Food 4 Less. Here is a great news video from CBS news in Denver, Grocery Stores See Surge In Store Brand Sales.

This is no surprise given that Kroger has worked hard to build a robust and customer relevant multi-tiered portfolio of Private Brands. Here is my take on their architecture:


Check out the Kroger website for some well done Private Brand Commercials.


Name Brand, No Brand or Private Brand?


After my recent post \”Retro Cool or Just Bad Brand Strategy\” on the retro redesign of Loblaw’s “No Name” brand I discovered this post “Quarter Pounder Opens In Shibuya & Omotesandoon” a test McDonald\’s is running in Tokyo.  The concept is minimalist and dramatic some would say generic, and certainly similar to that “No Name” redesign. The menu is correspondingly simple featuring: a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal and a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal. According to Neil Duckett the stores seem to be doing well.

So the question remains is this Name Brand, No Brand or Private Brand or some stunt from McDonalds that lives in between the three. My first reaction is that is a brilliant stunt that capitalizes on the Quarter Pounder as brand, creating a boutique venue for it to shine in. So McDonalds=National Brand, Big Mac=Private Brand?