LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Affiliated Foods Southwest's private-label health and beauty care sales are running 25% ahead of last year due to a heavy promotional push on the products.
By expanding private-label variety, promoting the larger mix in new weekly food ads and circulars, and using increased off-shelf merchandising, the 360-retailer cooperative based here has been able to achieve its goal of increasing its HBC sales overall, said John Adams, director of nonfood. Further volume gains are anticipated this year, he added, as Affiliated retailers operating in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma continue to spotlight HBC and private label more prominently.
"Our various ad groups have committed a block of space in store ads every week specifically aimed at eight national and store brand HBC [items]," said Adams, "and it's helped sales a lot." With the increased prominence of HBC in weekly ads, retailers have also increased the visibility of the approximately 500-item private-label Shurfine line. "The larger ad space has really drawn attention to and better acquainted people with the whole HBC department and private-label HBC, which wasn't always included in retailers' ads," Adams explained.
Since store ads began carrying a larger number of private-label HBC products, "people have been noticing the [store brand] variety a lot more and been buying it," he added. In the last year, Affiliated has added 70 new HBC store brands in high-demand categories, including an assortment of analgesics, a full vitamin line and a 50-item pantyhose selection. Adams said Affiliated intends to continue expanding its HBC variety. This spring its retailers started offering a 25-item store-brand nail implements line and 36 new hair care products. Affiliated's private-label HBC line has also received improved traffic placement. According to Adams, store-brand items are now placed alongside national-brand counterparts on HBC gondolas. "We're also using shelf talkers to illustrate the store brand and its retail price compared to the price of the national brand," he added. The co-op is also turning to greater use of off-shelf displays and away from department merchandising to boost shopper exposure.