Private Labels Are Flooding Retail
Rising prices, high inflationary pressures, and an uncertain economic environment are forcing many retailers to be creative and introduce new private brands to serve their customers. While private label brands have been around for a long time, we now see growing interest in them. Many of the new labels are well designed, made with quality fabrics, and attractively priced. They sell well.
While this report will not review every new private label that has been introduced recently, there are plenty of stores that can point with pride to some new product introductions. My list includes Walmart
1. Walmart. The company launched Love & Sports, an active and athletic-leisure label which was designed by fashion designer Michelle Smith and indoor cycling instructor Stacey Griffith of SoulCycle fame. Love & Sports includes active wear, swimwear, seamless sports bras, nylon jackets, and much more. The line clearly is on target for today’s active lifestyles.
2. JCPenney. Everyday Marilyn is a capsule collection inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s off-screen wardrobe in sizes xS-3x. It will be in 300 stores and available on jcp.com. It will include capri pants, shirting, and full-skirted dresses. Styled by a JCPenney team under Val Harris, JCPenney’s SVP of product design, trend, and brand management, it tries to recall nostalgic times. “Marilyn’s fashion legacy continues to influence today’s styles,” says Dana Carpenter, EVP at Authentic Brands Group. It is inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s effortless styles and fashion legacy, offering a feminine silhouette and polished looks reminiscent of the off-screen
3. Macy’s. This giant retailer has long had a number of billion-dollar private brands including INC, Style & Co., Charter Club, and Alfani. The All in Motion athletic brand that was introduced during the pandemic achieved the $1 billion sales goal in just four months. Perhaps it helped that many customers wanted to get outdoors after being locked up for so long.
4. Meijer. This grocery chain introduced Tranquil & True, a line of intimate apparel and sleepwear for women. It’s like everybody sees the advantage of offering attractive merchandise at reasonable prices.
5. Kohl’s. Activewear is a top priority at Kohl’s as the company tries to go from 20% of company sales to 30% in this important classification for women, men, and children. FLX was introduced earlier this year and offers an assortment to appeal to men, women, and young people.
6. The Bay. The Canadian company is launching Hudson North, an assortment for women and men which includes dresses, shorts, tops, denim, loungewear, and knits. 200 items are included. Emphasis will be on quality and functionality. Laura Janney, chief merchant at The Bay, feels that many of the items will become “go to” items.
POSTSCRIPT: Department stores have often had private labels in their assortments. These products gave them some exclusivity as well as some price flexibility. Some companies used the private label products at reduced prices during special sale periods, while other companies tried to boost their quality image by never reducing a private brand’s price. These days it is likely that every private brand will be reduced for Anniversary sales, Thanksgiving events, etc. This is a time of stress, and retailers will use every means to attract customers.