The PLBuyer Top 10, March 2013

April 8, 2013
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The private label industry continues to advance and mature at a rapid pace. That’s why it’s vital to keep tabs on what’s intriguing the leaders of this exciting segment—and helping shape its future.

The PLBuyer website is the industry’s definitive resource for breaking news and information crucial to the private label industry, so it pays to keep pace by following developments via the daily news posted here.

The following stories were the top 10 most-read items during the month of March, collected here for quick and easy review. Click through to read the full stories—and keep your eyes peeled for future developments on these pages.


1. Safeway Introduces Simmer Sauces

The depth of private label product offerings continues to grow, and when Safeway added a line of simmer and slow cooker sauces under its premium Safeway Select brand folks took notice. Promoting the new line for the holidays late last year (this article was posted in Dec. 2012), Safeway wrote on its Facebook page: “Busy holidays don't have anything on you! Whip up an international dish easier than ever before with our new Safeway Select Simmer and Slow Cooker Sauces.” Sauce flavors include mandarin orange, lemon butter and sesame ginger.


2. Top 25 Retailers

Everybody needs to stay informed with the top leaders of this industry, so it’s no surprise that PL Buyer’s annual look at the leaders in grocery, drug and mass merchandise retailing continues to surface as one of the most-popular articles on this website. Also included is the latest private label news from these retailers. Walmart tops the list, with CVS, Kroger, Target and Costco rounding out the top 5.


3. PLB Top 35 Private Label Retailers

People love lists, and our annual ranking,from October of last year, of the largest sellers of private label food and grocery items in North America came in at No. 3during March. As always, we strovehereto bring you information you can’t find anywhere else. For this year’s list, we once again partnered with Retail Systems Research, a widely recognized retail research company.RSR’s Paula Rosenblum discusses the private label marketplace in detail with this analysis and gives her take on the Top 35 list.


4. New Supervalu Gets New Private Brands Chief

Leadership changes at the biggest private label retailers can mean impending developments dowm the road. Last month, Supervalu announced that it will make executive changes leading up to the sale of five of its banners to Cerberus Capital Management, including a new leader of its private brand division. Mark Van Buskirk, who spent 20 years with Kroger, was named the executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Supervalu replacing Tim Lowe, and will be in charge of Supervalu’s private brand division and retail pharmacy team. Read the full story for other new developments at Supervalu.


5. Safeway Puts Private Label At Center Of Lifestyle Plans

Safeway held its annual investors conference last month, and our report on the proceedings came in at No. 5 for March. Safeway executives laid out their plans for 2013, focusing heavily on lifestyle changes and an emphasis on health and wellness—and its private label programs are at the heart of the changes. “Today we’re a supermarket company,” Safeway’s CEO told investors. “I think in 10 years’ time, we’ll be part of more of a wellness company selling food.”


6. Dollar General Climbing PLB Top 35

Yet another list hits the March Top 10, this time with the news late last month that Dollar General reported strong sales and earnings in 2012, including growing private label penetration, leading us to project that the company might climb higher on the PLB Top 35 list later this year in October. Dollar General ranked 20thon the list released in Oct. 2012, based on 2011 sales. It reported 2012 sales rising 8.2 percent from a year ago to a record $16 billion. In addition, the retailer said its private label penetration grew from an estimated 22 percent in 2011 to 23.6 percent in 2012. That would leave Dollar General with about $3.776 billion in private label sales in 2012, which would put it past CVS for 16thon the PLB Top 35 list, just behind Ahold USA and Sobey’s.


7. Noddle Says Price Pressure to Increase

The recent recession might be just about over, but its aftereffects will likely still be trickling down for some time yet. Late last month, Former Ahold USA and Daymon President Allan Noddle’s remarks to a crowd of private label executives included a prediction that the greatest effects of the recession on the industry were still to come—and this news item was a top view for visitors to the PLBuyer website. He said the resulting consolidation within the global retail grocery industry will leave four or five retailers dominating business—namely Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, Aldi and Amazon. “These guys are going to put tremendous pressure on the supply chain to lower costs,” he suggested.


8. 99 Cents Only Stores Founders Fired By Owners

The news item we posted back in January about the owners of 99 Cents Only Stores throwing out that chain’s founding family, with retail veteran Richard Anicetti and Michael Fung taking over top executive roles, is still attracting interest, hitting No. 8 on the March Top 10. Founders Eric Schiffer, Jeff Gold and Howard Gold are “no longer with the company,” 99 Cents Only said in a news release. Schiffer is the son-in-law of founder David Gold while Jeff and Howard are his sons. Eric had been serving as CEO.


9. Costco CFO Dreams of More Private Label

Around the middle of last month, we reported on Costco’s fiscal second quarter earnings, which had risen 22 percent, excluding special items—and Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti used that as an opportunity to talk a little about private label on the company’s conference call with analysts. When asked if Costco’s Kirkland Signature private label line was growing as a percent of SKUs in the club, Galanti said it absolutely was. “You know, private label (share) is in the low 20s, and continues to grow,” he said. And you know, when we talk about aspirational numbers, we’d like to see a three in front of it instead of a two. But I don’t know how long that takes.”


10. Private Label Nail Polish Remover Benefits In Slow Economy

 Rounding out the March Top 10 was a news item from the end of January on the U.S. nail color and care market—a segment that fared well during the economic slump, likely due to people doing their own nails more often, and private label nail polish removers benefited the most. The nail color and care market in the U.S. grew by nearly three-quarters (72 percent) since 2007, with sales estimated at $2.5 billion at the end of 2012. Growth is expected to continue through 2017, albeit at a slower pace than previous years, with sales expected to reach just over $4 billion. 

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