ROGERS, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores is upgrading and expanding its Sam's Choice private label with such gourmet items as ready-to-bake molten chocolate cakes and a brown sugar-glazed ham in purple foil. New packaging -- including better photography on frozen foods and brown paper bags for cookies similar to a specialty bakery's -- rounds out the repositioning.
"We're paying attention to the aesthetic proposition of Sam's Choice," said Bruce Peterson, senior vice president, general merchandise manager of perishables, at a media conference held April 5 and 6 near the retailer's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
Prices are 20% to 50% less than similar branded items. Sales of the foil-wrapped ham "wildly exceeded" expectations, Peterson said.
The upgrade follows a similar move by rival Target, which recently spiffed up packaging for Market Pantry, its opening price-point private label.
Sam's Choice, a 250-stockkeeping unit collection focusing on frozen entrees, appetizers and snack foods, is sold at supercenters and Neighborhood Markets.
Recent line additions include sundae cups, flavored snack crackers and trail mix, which is selling well, the company said.