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Private Label

Although a little out of the scope of focusing on the retailers themselves, one can't ignore the importance of the Private Label / Store Brands business in food retail where sales can account for anywhere from 25% to 45% of their total sales or more. Wal-mart for example is estimated to have sales in excess of $150 Billion which in itself is more than ALL sales combined for their competitors like Carrefour and Tesco.

Below are some well known food retailers with their estimated Private Label sales. Again, it is not meant to portray an accurate ranking of the business but serves only as a "best estimate" to illustrate general results of these selected few. For more detailed information and rankings check out the resources further down the page.

Company Name & Website Link
Country of Origin

Sales (Billions $CDN)

Private Label Estimated Sales (Billions $CDN)


Prior to their 1994 entrance into Canada, Wal-Mart worked with Loblaws on their private label program via Presiden't Choice International. At one point Loblaws owned the copyright/trademark to the Sam's Choice brand name in Canada which is why they didn't use it here.


Beginning in 1976 with the launch of their "Produits Libres" lines, today they have more than 20,000 sku's that make up their Private Label business.


They were essentially the first company to market their private label products on three basic levels. Premium for high quality, standard for national brand comparable and value for price point. Clearly it has been quite successful.


Being the manufacturer of more than 40% of their own Private Label products obviously allows them even better profitibility than companies outsourcing all of their own lines.


Both Lidl and Aldi below carry a lot less sku's in their stores than most food retail companies which allows them to focus on their own brands which they also have the most control over both cost and pricing wise.


With their international store count being much lower than many retailers and the exclusivity of being a members only business, their results are impressive in that they do have a loyalty to their own brands. From my purchases in the past, their Kirkland Signature products are high quality and most important consistent.


According to a 2010 news story, Auchan entered into a partnership with Metro Group of Germany to the benefit of both companies. For Auchan it meant better costing and more buying power with their own brand products. The story on it is HERE


Like other retailers they have different tiers of private label products. Their Premium range is "Feine Welt" which translates to Fine World. They also have a website dedicated to the line HERE It is in German only and unfortunately google translate doesn't work on it.


Casino have three key brands; Casino, Monoprix and Leader Price with a large number of line extensions for all. For details from their website the page HERE has the details on them.


By carrying a limited assortment of products with the large majority being your own Private Label products, by percentage of sales naturally you lead the private label market. Many have wondered how well they would do expanding their assortment but success has shown they haven't had to in almost 100 years of business.


In their U.S. operations they continue develop their Private Label growth where sales percentages are below 20%. In the Netherlands and other markets that number is closer to 50% of sales.


In 2011 they launched their "Open Nature" line of private label natural foods that complimented their line of health & wellness foods like their O Organics line. Is it too much too soon or have they got the timing right for future success?


Ironically, even though President's Choice has become a national brand in it's own right, in the past five years they have also done a lot of focus on their No Name value line that had grown to be more of a premium than discount brand. Gone are the fancy labels and stand out looks, they are back to the yellow and black letter standards of the past. Their main competitor Sobeys also has their own website for their Compliments private label.


My expertise in the Food Retail World as it relates to Private Labels is somewhat limited though a background with 18.5 years working with Loblaws has brought a lot of knowledge and insights my way in seeing from the inside of the business their successes and yes failures (ie. President's Choice Magazine, Kidz Kloz ) over those years. These days, I have found the following are a the best resources for information on Private Label :

Website Name & Link

Exclusive Brands is the magazine (digital version available free on the website) dedicated to private labels from publisher/editor Philip Fitzell, a recognized expert in the world of exclusive brands who is also the author of several books available for purchase from their website. Best of all, they offer a Sourcebook that gives you comprehensive insights into the development, manufacture and retail of Private Labels and more. I have their 2009 version and have to say it's impressive in all that they cover. Check it out !

From the perspective of the manufacturers the PLMA and their website focuses on trade shows and marketing of private labels with links to multiple sites that include news, events, insights and more. They have some great information but somewhat limited and tricky to find.

Private Label Magazine has a fair amount of free information on their website and access to stories from their publications. They also have a Directory & Buyers Guide with links and addresses to quite a few manufacturers/suppliers.

Their site offers a wealth of information on private labels including valuable information from the food retail perspective that includes special reports and more (See Below) . Copies of their digital editions are available for free in their archives on the site.

Covering a broad range of topics within the field of Private Labels, this website is a good resource for current news and events with special pages dedicated to grocery retailers. When I last checked the site there were 67 different grocery retailer pages.

From the Private Label Buyer magazine above is their annual edition where they rank the top 35 Private Label Retailers in North America. This edition from October 2011 is their most current. Great info ! If you want to see the top 30 edition from their September 2010 edition, it's available HERE

From the USDA Economic Research Service is this report that as the title says, looks at the relationship between national brands and private label food products that was realeased in December 2011. Some decent insights to be found here too.

Via the Wisner Marketing Group website run by former retail executive Jim Wisner is this 2007 report from the PLMA above titled "Center Store Renewal : Leveraging Private Label To Drive Growth" that looks at best practices in an extensive overview of retailing private labels

If you information to share or have links to resources you would like to see here, please feel free to e-mail me at




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