BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Quality Food Centers here is introducing a new mid-tier private-label line for about 200 stockkeeping units of Center Store grocery and nonfood items, SN has learned.
The line features the Heritage Farm name for edible products, and Heritage Hearth for nonfood items, such as paper goods and household cleaners.
The Quality Care brand is being used for health and beauty care items, analysts who track the 62-unit chain told SN. They said the line is being rolled out one category at a time, though they did not know how many SKUs are now on store shelves. QFC officials declined to comment.
"Heritage Farm is going to be a fighter brand," said Jonathan Ziegler, a vice president in the San Francisco office of Salomon Bros., New York. "QFC is an upscale retailer, and Heritage Farm is intended to bring them down a little bit into a more aggressive price point."
QFC has been concentrating on building its store base, primarily through acquisition, said Brian Suher, vice president of Piper Jaffray & Hopwood, Portland, Ore. As a result, its private-label program has "really been behind the ball," compared with the competition's, Suher said. "This Heritage Farm program will really be a huge upside for them once they get it all together," he said.
Local observers said that until now, QFC's private-label program has focused on several different brands, often using the names of area restaurants and other establishments. The items are similar in quality to a President's Choice or Safeway Select, observers noted.