News & Media

Impact players: Walmart
January 10, 2019
Source: Store Brands
The proof is in the pudding — make that a box of Walmart private brand Great Value instant pudding.

The retailers succeeding in private brands are the ones embracing private brands to differentiate with innovative and exclusive products that offer consumers a value — all while growing their profits.

These retailers also realize the relevance of intangible store brands and offer services that help define their banners, further creating loyal customers.

The following five retailers are impact players of private brands in grocery. They aren’t the only retailers making an impact, but they are surely leaving their mark:

1. Walmart: Its biggest impact may be yet to come Who would have thought that Walmart would become the place to go for authentic Italian food? Not long ago, that kind of destination was reserved for some exclusive restaurant.

But last year, Walmart announced it was partnering with the Italian Trade Agency to introduce a line of authentic Italian cuisine, Sam’s Choice Italia, featuring 40 products including bagged pastas, pesto and pasta sauces, canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and frozen pizzas. It was the first time the Italian Trade Agency worked with a U.S. retailer on a full line of private brand products that are produced by Italian suppliers.

Walmart’s agreement with the Italian Trade Agency proved how serious the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is about enhancing its private brands program, especially from a premium perspective. Other Walmart store brands are Great Value and Equate.

“[We] continue to make great strides in private label,” Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, said at the Raymond James Institutional Investors Conference earlier this year. “One of the things that has hit me the last two years is the amount of work that’s going on around private label. The packaging is better, the pricing is sharp … really good products [and] good feedback from customers. We’re going to continue to be a house of brands, we always have been [and] always will. But private label in the future is going to play a really important part of what we’re doing.”

Walmart’s private brands are already well-recognized among its customers. According to a recent survey by Field Agent, a retail solutions firm headquartered in Fayetteville, Ark., Walmart was the most popular retailer among consumers for purchasing store brands. A whopping 84 percent of Walmart customers said they buy store brands at least occasionally when shopping at Walmart. In addition, Walmart’s Great Value was the most trusted private brand in Field Agent’s survey, which asked consumers to pick one from a list of 13 store brands.

Last year, in a speech at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer & Retail Technology Conference, Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon said Walmart has “more talent there (professionals in its private brand department) than we’ve ever had before.”

Sounds like Walmart’s biggest impact on private brands is yet to come.