Wholesalers Wave Their 'Banners'
ers competing with the larger industry-consolidated supermarket chains, their relationship with independents and how they use their own banners have become very important. Increasingly, many wholesalers have moved into alternative formats. Five years ago, banners were being heavily marketed, as wholesalers declared early on that leased-banner programs (wholesaler-owed store banners licensed to retailers) were worthy of coming into their own.
Conventional, superstore, price-impact and limited-assortment formats were all important in helping independents compete on an equal footing with the chains, according to industry executives in a June, 23, 1997, front-page article of SN. Store banner programs had developed, by that time, into programs that allowed wholesalers to widen their store format assortment, tailor their formats to fit specific niches and provide sufficient flexibility for entrepreneurs to exercise their own independent instincts.
As consolidation has since picked up pace, alternative-revenue streams and strong relationships with independent retailers have become critical to wholesalers who hope to stay competitive. New retail channels such as price-impact formats and stronger retail ties provide a solid base for wholesalers to build their business. Meanwhile, banners and acquisitions will remain important strategies as wholesalers scramble to increase their customer base.