The concept of category management was built around brands, and a reliance on a leading brand manufacturer in each category to steer the program toward profit. Under that scheme, private label was considered a maintenance item, which captured some sales -- but only at the expense of second- or third-tier brands. These days, the emergence of high-profile, upscale private-label products has presented new challenges to the time-tested formula -- who should captain the retailer's own brand to ...

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