NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Aiming to boost its identity and customer loyalty, Genuardi's Family Markets here plans a major expansion of its store brand.
Starting in September, the first of more than 850 new Genuardi-label items is slated to enter stores as part of an initial rollout, according to Frank Puleo, director of nonperishable merchandise.
Grocery items slated to be added, he said, include cereal, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, juice, soda, applesauce, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna, diapers and spring water. Frozen-food items such as vegetables, pizza, ice cream, bread and dough are also planned. Products will be sourced from different vendors.
Genuardi's already has 150 stockkeeping units of store-brand groceries, mostly commodities like sugar, bread crumbs and sliced white bread, Puleo said.
In addition, the chain stocks about 450 SKUs of Thorofare, a private label supplied by Super Rite Foods, Harrisburg, Pa. Most of those items are in the same categories expected to be added in the store-brand expansion, Puleo said.
"That's going to be pretty interesting," he said. "We're going to attempt to keep the Thorofare label relatively active in our mix, but we're going to apply category-management principles as we roll out the store brand and see if there is room or if it makes sense to have two offerings in a category.
"If we think there's room for two brands [in a category], we'll leave Thorofare in. If there's not, of course the store brand is the one that is going to take the shelf space," he added.
While Thorofare is strong in some categories, such as apple juice, the brand doesn't promote Genuardi's identity, Puleo noted.
"We want our customers to recognize the value in Genuardi-label products," he explained. "We've had no problems with
Thorofare. But it's not the same [as a store brand]. Customers don't recognize it as the Genuardi quality; they just recognize it as a brand that we carry. We'd add more [customer] loyalty with the Genuardi brand, we believe."
The bigger store-label program reflects an overall company expansion. The chain, which last week was scheduled to open its 29th location, plans to add a new store each month for the rest of the year, except in October, according to Puleo.
"We are at the size now where we can support our own brand," he said. "We're in a major expansion campaign. We're going into areas we've never been in. We opened a store in Delaware in early June, and that's our first move out of Pennsylvania."