ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Furrs Supermarkets here has consolidated its private label health and beauty care offerings chain-wide under the Top Care label, supplied by Topco Associates, Skokie, Ill.
"We are very excited to be the exclusive provider of this high-quality line in the Albuquerque area," Furrs president and chief executive Tom Dahlen said in a press statement. "Our pharmacists have closely inspected the Top Care line and recommend it." Calls to Furrs by SN for further comment were not returned before press time.
The chain had considered a consolidation of private label HBC under the Furrs label. But, according to Tony Harrington, Topco's HBC senior product manager, such a move would not have allowed Furrs to offer a selection as wide as the 491 stockkeeping units the retailer will now sell under the Top Care label.
"The goal was to consolidate the existing multi-brand private label HBC program," Harrington said. "But the Furrs label did not offer the breadth of selection. Top Care was able to offer [the retailer] the full assortment of all HBC items." Previously, the retailer had been selling private label HBC under the Furrs (supplied by Topco) and Marquee (supplied by Fleming, Oklahoma City) labels.
The exclusivity Dahlen spoke of means that in Furrs trading areas -- 70 units in 30 New Mexico and West Texas communities -- it will be the only retailer selling the Top Care HBC line. He also said in the statement that, "Furrs believes so strongly in Top Care's quality that it's offering a full refund to any customer who is not satisfied with a Top Care product." Independent laboratories conduct quality control tests on the products, according to Dahlen.
The Top Care items were rolled out earlier this month, said Harrington. The SKUs are integrated throughout various HBC subcategories, merchandised adjacent to national cough and cold, bandage, shampoo and vitamin brands.
Market exclusivity has the potential to build store loyalty, according to Harrington. And, because the pricing structure of a national brand is non-existent, the line offers higher margins and greater profitability for Furrs. "This creates an alternative to a national brand that doesn't carry that expense. And because Top Care will only be available in Furrs stores, the retailer becomes a destination for those shoppers satisfied with Top Care. What Top Care will become to Furrs is their own store brand associated with their store banner."
In the HBC category, Top Care price points are typically about 20% lower than the comparable national brand, Harrington said. Furrs stated, however, that "Top Care prices generally range from 25% to 35% less than national brand prices."
Furrs is promoting the line extensively through newspaper, television and radio advertisements, according to Harrington.
Topco also supplies Furrs, a 20-year member of the procurement co-operative, with private label items in other categories as well, including packaged grocery. The chain is one of 25 retailers across the country supplied by Topco, which offers nearly a dozen private label goods and services programs.