• And Then There Were Two
    Walgreen's acquisition of Rite Aid may not be final, but the chain drug landscape is down to two huge players. Roy White examines the pending impact on retailers.

    Roy White
    And Then There Were Two
    March 2017
    The chain drug industry has undergone a massive sea change in the past several years and has emerged as a different kind of business – and this is certainly the case even though Walgreens' acquisition of Rite Aid still remains unresolved a year and a half after it was initiated.
    With or without the Rite Aid deal, the chain drug landscape basically features two massive organizations, CVS and Walgreens, slugging it out but now in a way very different from traditional retail competition.
    CVS, for example, is as much as a pharmacy benefits management company as it is a chain drug retailer. Indeed, it does more volume in pharmacy services – $120 billion last year before eliminating intercompany transactions – than it does in retail sales. CVS’s PBM division features a lengthy list of offerings such as prescription services to the long-term care market, specialty pharmacy, mail order prescriptions, and Rx services for health plans and employers. 
  • Family Time Grows
    Whether it's making a homemade pizza or brownies, some families are using mealtimes and store brands to create fun for themselves. Brad Edmondson reports.

    Brad Edmondson
    Family Time Grows
    March 2017
    About 13 million married couples in the United States are raising children while holding down two full-time jobs. These folks have it all -- Jobs, active social lives, kids at home, vacations, savings accounts and mortgages.  
    What they don't have is time for each other. That's why parents are trying to turn everyday chores into family together time. Part of that strategy includes luring kids into the kitchen by making it fun to cook. It’s something store brand product developers might want to keep in mind.
    Let me give you an example: many households today own pizza stones… and they’re put to good use. These inexpensive baking sheets, made of stone or steel, super-heat pizza crusts so they come out crisp and delicious. Busy families use them as an excuse for pizza-making parties, that include pre-made ingredients, like store brand sauce, cheese and fun toppings.
  • Keeping Up with Technology
    Retail technology has moved from a cost to an investment, but what are the limits? Len Lewis explains the benefits and pitfalls.

    Len Lewis
    Keeping Up with Technology
    March 2017
    Ever since scanning was introduced in 1974 retailing has been on a technological tear − adopting UPC, RFID, IT, AI, VR, IoT and an alphabet soup of other acronyms.
    Meantime, technology moved from a cost to an investment and a competitive advantage for generating higher sales and refining the product mix.
    But is the supermarket industry reaching a tipping point?
    Futurist Alvin Toffler called it “Future Shock” − where technology outpaces our capacity to use it effectively − the point where science overshadows the art of marketing and merchandising.
    Nonetheless, 60 percent of retailers in a Gartner/RIS study have boosted investments in chip cards, social media analytics, inventory optimization and shopper tracking.
  • Best Buy, Best Moves
    There's good news for retailers as Best Buy demonstrates how to use private label to make itself competitive again. Christopher Durham has details.

    Christopher Durham
    Best Buy, Best Moves
    March 2017
    Let’s talk about an important but oft-ignored segment of private label that typically doesn’t make it into trade shows or headlines.
    The category is electronics and appliances, and everything that goes with them. And here, one of the biggest retailers is Best Buy. Founded in 1966 as a simple stereo store, it was actually called Sound of Music until changing its name in 1983 to Best Buy.
    Today, the electronics and appliance retailer generates nearly $40 billion annually through the sale of popular national brands and an impressive portfolio of private brands.
    However, just a few years ago, Best Buy looked like it would join Circuit City, Linens & Things and A&P in the retail grave yard. Investors were forecasting their demise and customers simply did not care.
PLMALive! Archives:
the Best of the Year Past
In The Stores, On The Shelves - February

In this month's edition, we visit Trader Joe's, Earth Fare, Beauty Pie and Meijer. Key stats on the growing functional beverage category are also featured. Click here for video.

Is There A Trump Consumer?

Everyone now knows that there are Trump voters. But are there Trump consumers? Brad Edmondson analyzes the link between the voting booth and the supermarket.

Dollar Store Renaissance

Smaller stores, better locations and a focus on Millennials are all bringing the dollar channel into new underserved markets. Roy White reports on the latest developments.

Don't Ignore Seniors

Aging seniors require attentive retailers and marketers. Len Lewis examines the store layouts, convenient locations, products and packaging that win them over.

The State of Stater Bros.

The passing of iconic CEO Jack Brown of Stater Bros. opens up a whole new chapter for this independent popular California chain. David Merrefield highlights the new leadership.

Can Retailers Keep Growing?

Neil Stern, Senior Partner at McMillanDoolittle consulting firm, believes 2017 will be one of the most challenging years ever for retailers.

Store Brands for the Military?

Atten-tion! Military commissaries may finally get private label for their shoppers. Len Lewis has the details.

Southeastern Charm

Southeastern Grocers tries to project strength from a varied portfolio of regional banners including BI-LO and Winn-Dixie. Christopher Durham reports.

Natural Science

Science and technology are serving up foods the way consumers want to eat today: as close to nature, and as fresh as possible. Dr. Kantha Shelke explains.

Euro Trends

Sugar reduction, air pollution and geo-location technology are all top-of-mind as Europeans shop their favorite stores. Will the trends come here? Judith Kolenburg offers analysis.

Beverages Bubbling Upwards

While colas fight it out, store brands beverages have turned to energy and sports, flavored waters and juices and other innovative drinks to drive store brands sales forward. What are the trends for the future?

How Albertsons Builds its Brands

Nancy Cota, Vice President of Own Brands Product Management for Albertsons, believes that store brands play a crucial role in building shopper loyalty for mainstream supermarkets.