NORTH TAZEWELL, Va. -- Acme Markets of Virginia completes the rollout this month of a greatly expanded nonfood private-label line.
In August, 150 stockkeeping units under the Select Brands label was introduced to the retailer's 11 stores. The second phase of the launch began this month with another 150 items of mostly health and beauty care products shipped to store units.
"We wanted to give private label a shot in the arm," said Jim Delp, the chain's HBC and general merchandise buyer. Previously, the retailer offered just 65 SKUs in HBC, which Delp said did not do well. Acme implemented the program to increase its margins, which would enable it to lower its prices on national branded HBC and, as a result, become more price competitive with Wal-Mart and other mass merchandisers, Delp explained.
The majority of SKUs in the 300-item line are in HBC, and a small percentage is in general merchandise. Virtually every HBC category has been expanded, including internal analgesics and shampoos. The chain also added private-label vitamins to its HBC selection.
"We brought in vitamins, especially the Centrum-type and the Flintstone-type lines," said Delp. "When you have such a limited program to begin with, everything must be added." Select Brands is priced one-third to one-fourth less than its national counterparts, said Delp, and is helping to provide the extra
"Margins have come up substantially. And, with our additional promotion, sales have gone up on our national brands, too. That really surprised us," said Delp.
To kick off the program, Select Brands was featured in the retailer's advertising circulars. The line also is being promoted with compare-and-save shelf talkers, window banners and aisle signs.
Acme had to cut some facings of its national branded products to make room for Select Brands items, but section sizes, which are typically 64 square feet in an average 35,000-square-foot store, were kept the same. Replanogramming for private label is now underway.
Acme is the only retailer in the area carrying the Select Brands label, which is supplied by S-A-J Distributors, Pine Bluff, Ark. The chain had carried Hy Top private-label HBC from Merchants Distributors, Hickory, N.C.