What a year it's been

March 28, 2012
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As you read this, 2011 will be drawing to a close. It’s a year that likely won’t get much written about it in the history books, at least not as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. The country’s economic malaise continued with a slowly growing economy that everyone thinks is still in a recession and world debt problems continuing to pop up like geyser plumes to rattle consumers and retailers alike.
For private label, the year began with national brands stepping up marketing spending and, especially when it came to some B and C brands, buying back market share at some retailers who were anxious to get those promotional bucks. But as the year ended, survey after survey said consumers were still shopping for price, and that was good news for private label. How private label will grab market share once that price obsession ends, (will it ever?) is yet to be seen.
While the year hasn’t been all that memorable for the country, it certainly has been for readers of PLBuyer. We’ve worked hard to bring you new features, new surveys and new insights into the private label world.
Our new Tactics Watch section began in January, bringing you one-page tips on tactics that will sell more private label. In March, we began our new collaboration with ECRM, monitoring how retailers are advertising their private label products in their weekly ad circulars. This has continued in the PLBuyer eReport newsletter which itself went from weekly to twice a week in the past year.
May saw us feature our special report on the new consumer plus a cover story looking at the strategic question of what is the right blend of private label and branded product. In June our national brand report card debuted. As long as private label chooses to follow national brands in terms of product innovation, it will be important to know what those national brands are doing and so we told you.
In September, we gave you a special technology report plus insights from our editorial board and in October we featured our expanded, from 30 last year to 35 this year, list of the top private label retailers in the United States, ranked by their private label sales.
Our November issue featured a PLMA show preview unlike any you could see elsewhere. We not only printed the show schedule and product listings, as is common, but also contacted speakers to offer you previews of their talks and included a special report on private label around the globe, spotlighting trends in Europe, Asia, South America and even in the U.S. Hispanic market.
November also brought you finalists in our Design Excellence Awards competition. If you were at PLMA the evening of Nov. 14, you hopefully attended our amazing awards ceremony at which Sam’s Club, and its design firm Michael Osborne, were named the Best of the Best in our competition.
Our January issue will feature a full list of winners along with photos and commentary. What else are we planning for 2012?
Put simply, a lot. We’re not done innovating just yet.

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