Saying he is “just thrilled with the feedback we’re getting from customers,” Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert said the company’s private label strategy was essential to its hyperlocal focus going forward in its fiscal 2013 year.
“This past year, Essential Everyday, our new national brand equivalent line, rolled out in 41 categories with more than 500 SKUs,” Herkert told analysts on a conference call announcing the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. “With its crisp updated packaging, this new label drives brand recognition, delivers immediate production efficiencies, and has been embraced by our customers.”
Herkert said the company aggressively expanded its entry-level price brand, Shopper’s Value, in fiscal 2012, with 68 new SKUs added.
“As we work to deliver greater everyday value, hyperlocal will be our true point of differentiation,” Herkert said in a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha. “In fiscal ’12, this approach helped to invigorate our store directors and associates as they moved to engage customers on a whole new level.” And that interaction between employees and customers has been generally positive where Supervalu’s private label products are concerned, he said.
“[Essential Everyday] has been embraced across the country. This is really, really good news for us,” Herkert said. “Our private brand team has not only converted the older labels, the wildly disparate labels we had into Essential Everyday and not missed a beat, but in fact have developed some fairly innovative products along the way.”
The company’s focus on its national brand equivalent line, though, has not taken away from its Shopper’s Value or Culinary Circle products. “I also like the movement we’ve made on Shopper’s Value and Culinary Circle,” he said. “So I think there’s good news.” Herkert said Supervalu planned to continue its Essential Everyday expansion in the new fiscal year.
“We have thousands of SKUs coming this fiscal year on Essential Everyday as we will not complete, but did essentially complete, that transition,” he said. “We’ve also committed to our independent grocers that we’ll be introducing Essential Everyday starting this fiscal year to our independent grocers based on the very positive feedback that we’ve received from our traditional stores. So I think there’s nice headway there, and I think a nice opportunity going forward.”