Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Americans and Private Label

I am getting a little bored with the coverage of the success of private label in the US. No offence to them. I am sure it is big news there.

But the rest of the Western world has been through it. Private label penetration in Europe is almost double that of the US. Retail brands are trusted. Often they are not value options but in the case of Tesco's Finest or Marks and Spencer considered better quality. Partly because retailers have been far more consolidated in those markets and were able to build their brands.

I read today that dollar stores is the one channel in the US that brands are not facing private label competition. Cold comfort really. I recall in the early 1990's before I left the UK you could go slumming and buy national brands at discount grocery stores or you could get quality private label at the national retail chains. Not a great position for brands to be in.

American brands need to face up to a new reality. This will not go away with economic recovery. Why should it? They need to start thinking about their value.

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