ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass., and Nash Finch, Minneapolis, were honored for the store-level execution of their private-label programs during the recent Private Label Manufacturers Association show here.
Stop & Shop, an Ahold USA division, won a PLMA Salute to Excellence award in the supermarket category, while Nash Finch won in the wholesaler category. Other winners were Smart & Final, Los Angeles, in the mass merchandiser category and a Canadian retailer, Uniprix, Saint Leonard, Quebec, in the drug chain category.
"We have concentrated on making the Stop & Shop brand a brand within our store," Rich Ryan, director of corporate brands, told SN shortly after receiving the award. "We did it in the early '90s with the way that we promoted the product. We've done it in the mid-to-late '90s with the way that we have marketed the product. It's a combination of both of those factors that has driven the brand to where it is."
PLMA Chairman Andy Lewis said Stop & Shop's year-to-date results include a 15% sales gain in store-brand beverages, a 38% gain in the cereal category and a 7% market share increase in private-label diapers. Lewis is vice president of the Grocery Products Group of Inter-American Foods, Cincinnati, a Kroger division.
In-store promotions at Stop & Shop's 315 units provide support to local schools for field trips, art programs, athletics and library acquisitions, Lewis said. Sweepstakes promotions tied to private label have offered cash prizes and a family vacation package. Other aspects of the Stop & Shop program cited by Lewis included attractive signage and display support, and an employee information campaign.
Stop & Shop is now working closely with a new corporate brands marketing group recently created by Ahold USA, Chantilly, Va., Ryan said. "We will have a lot more resources available to us in the future and I'm sure we will put together some programs that will help us drive the business forward," he said. "I see continuous growth over the next several years."
Nash Finch has more than 2,300 items under the Our Family and Fame private-label brands, noted Brian Sharoff, president, PLMA, in making the award presentation. Especially noteworthy is the Cinnfully Good brand, which extends to indulgence products like bakery sweets and gourmet coffees that are cross promoted in-store with custom coffee kiosks where shoppers can serve themselves, he said.
Nash Finch provides a full marketing and merchandising program that goes along with private-label products, said John Paul, director of store brands. "We are not just offering a label to our retailers, but we are offering a program that includes the lowest cost of goods in the industry along with advertising, marketing and merchandising that emulates the national brand," he told SN.
Looking to the future, he said, "We want to grow our sales effort and try to come up with innovative ways to not just follow national brands, but to step out ahead of that situation. Also we need to stay very conscious of things like genetic engineering, allergens and label issues."
Raymond Swain, vice president, corporate brands procurement, Smart & Final, Los Angeles, said, "I think we received this award because the Smart & Final stores are truly committed to their corporate procurement program. Throughout the organization, we have actively marketed our brands via our core three-tier program or our variety of signature brands," he said.
Recently, Smart & Final has enhanced its program to better target specific customers. "I think we truly understand who our customer base is and we try to market specifically to our food-service customers," Swain said.