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Store-brand sales surge in mass retail arena

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NEW YORK — Store-brand sales growth in the mass retail channel approached 10% last year, according to new Nielsen data reported by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA).

In 2017, private-label dollar sales at mass merchant, warehouse club and dollar stores totaled $54.9 billion, up 9.3% from $50.2 billion for 2016, while unit sales rose 9.1% to 17.9 billion from 16.4 billion, Nielsen’s national sales data showed. PLMA noted that the dollar and unit sales totals for store brands at those stores are the highest on record.

Meanwhile, national brands dipped 0.3% in dollar sales and 1% in unit sales at those mass retail outlets.

The strong 52-week performance by store brands in the mass channel lifted their market share. Nielsen tallied a 1.3% gain in private-label dollar share to 18% among mass retailers, with unit share up 1.6% to 21.4%, both all-time highs, PLMA said.

Increased store-brand volume fueled overall sales growth in the mass retail channel for 2017, which edged up 1.3% in dollars and 1% in units.

PLMA noted that mass retailers are now challenging traditional supermarkets as consumers’ chief grocery venue. Nielsen pegged total sales in the mass channel at $305 billion for 2017, not far behind the $324 billion for supermarkets.

And private label has continued an upswing in the mass retail channel. PLMA said that, since 2015, annual store-brand dollar sales in the sector have risen $7.5 billion, a 15.8% increase, while annual unit volume rose 2.3 billion, a gain of 14.6%.

Despite weak performances in private label at supermarkets and drug stores, store-brand sales across all retail outlets have escalated. Nielsen’s research showed that store-brand volume for all outlets advanced 2.7% in dollar sales and 1.4% in unit sales during 2017. With those gains, private-label dollar share inched up a half-point to 18%, and unit share rose 0.6 points to 21.7%.

Store-brand dollar sales across all retail outlets, as measured by Nielsen, totaled $122.3 billion in 2017, up from $119.1 billion the year before, while unit volume climbed to 44.6 billion from 43.9 billion.


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