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PLMA Yearbook Reports Further PL Gains

July 6, 2010
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According to PLMA's 2010 Private Label Yearbook, in 2009, private brands took a full percentage point in unit market share from national brands across major U.S. retail channels. The result is a record $86.4 billion in store brand sales, and, experts say, further proof that recent years’ big gains in private label are by no means solely a result of the struggling economy.

In 2009, private label brands took a full percentage point in unit market share from national brands across major U.S. retail channels. The result is a record $86.4 billion in store brand sales, and, experts say, further proof that recent years’ big gains in private label are by no means solely a result of the struggling economy.

The just-released 2010 Private Label Yearbook, prepared by the New York-based Nielsen Co. for The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), New York, is a statistical guide to today’s store brands. According to the yearbook, compounding a 2008 surge in store brand, 2009 product sales increased 1.8 billion units, while national brand units were down by 2.1 billion.

There is no doubt, says PLMA, that the lousy economy helps drive private label’s gains. However, says Nielsen, “U.S. retailers continue to make progress in offering store brand products with claims relevant to shoppers looking for healthier choices.”

Moreover, a 2009 study conducted by GfK Roper for PLMA found that close to half of the primary household shoppers surveyed say they recently opted for the store brand in categories where they previously had bought only a national brand. Of those who made the switch, nine of ten also say the store brand products compared favorably or very favorably to their previous national brand choice.

In supermarkets, store brands reached a historic high of nearly 24 percent market share in units. Their growth outpaced national brands by a spread of eight basis points. Growth in store brand brands (+1.7 billion) more than offset the sales erosion of national brands (-1.5 billion) in the units column, resulting in a net gain for the channel as a whole and stemming a multi-year trend of supermarket unit losses.

In U.S. drug chains, private label market share in units reached just over 16 percent, as volume grew by 4 percent, the yearbook indicates. National brands recorded a loss in unit sales of nearly 4 percent. For health and beauty aids, store brands’ market share in units gained nearly 2 percent, reaching just over 22 percent total.

Looking at total retail outlets - including supermarkets, drug chains, and mass merchandisers (including Walmart) - store brands showed similar gains across the board, with new records set for dollar and unit market share, as well as total sales and unit volume, according to PLMA.

The $86.4 billion sales figure for total outlets does not account for store brand sales in channels that are not included in the Nielsen database. PLMA estimates there may be as much as $15 to $20 billion in additional private label sales in warehouse clubs, limited-assortment stores, c-stores and dollar stores.

For more information, go to www.plma.com

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