NEW YORK — Private label dollar sales across all US retail outlets rose 8.2% to $108 billion during the first half of 2023, ended June 18, according to data from the market researcher Circana, Chicago. Store brand unit sales for the six-month period dipped 0.5% but outperformed national brand unit sales which fell 3.4%.
"These numbers may grow as student loan repayments resume and borrowers of all ages lean further into strategies to tighten household budgets, including adding more value-friendly store brand items to their grocery lists,” said Mary Ellen Lynch, principal at Circana.
Among the broad retail categories Circana tracks, beverages experienced the largest store brand dollar sales gain over the past 52 weeks, up 19%; followed by general food and refrigerated, both up 16%; then frozen and general merchandise, both up 8%. Department unit sales followed a similar pattern. Beverages were up 6% in store brand units, followed by refrigerated and general food, both plus 5%. then Home Care (up 4%), Health (2%). Frozen unit sales were even.
“Having opted for a store brand over the national brand for the first time, there's a strong likelihood the shopper will stick with the store brand,” said Peggy Davies, president of the Private Label Manufacturers Association. “In addition, we are also seeing retailers doubling down on product innovation in food and non-food to take advantage of the flow of new store brand customers."
In September 2022, The Kroger Co. launched Smart Way, an opening price point private label brand, according to the company. The product line includes canned vegetables, bread, juices and other staples for consumers who prioritize affordability.The Albertsons Co., Boise, Idaho, is in the process of consolidating its Signature Farms, Signature Care and Signature Café brandsinto a master brand called Signature Select. The new brand will be the largest brand in the company’s private label portfolio and features over 8,000 products from packaged salads, ice cream, frozen pizza, coffee, paper goods, pasta, snacks, canned vegetables and fruit and ground beef, pork, and chicken, according to the company.