• Income Inequality Impact
    Some markets are booming as consumers enjoy income growth, while others struggle with high rents and related cost-of-living expenses. Brad Edmondson analyzes the trend.

    Brad Edmondson
    Income Inequality Impact
    April 2017
    The drought is over, and not just in California.  I'm talking about the income drought.  After eight years of losses and stagnation, the median income of US households increased 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015.  That is the largest one-year increase since record-keeping began fifty years ago.  
    Five years after The Great Recession officially ended, the benefits of the economic recovery are finally getting down to ordinary people. Income gains were actually greater for households at the bottom of the income scale than they were for those at the top.  That's because employers have to pay more to fill entry-level jobs when unemployment is low.
    The numbers mean that millions of food shoppers may not be pinching pennies quite so hard as they used to.  But it isn't like the hard times are over.
  • Public Enemy No. 1
    Forget trans-fats or salt. Sugar is now Public Enemy No. 1 in the mind of many consumers. Dr. Kantha Shelke reports on the challenges facing packaged goods manufacturers ‑ and potential solutions.

    Dr. Kantha Shelke
    Public Enemy No. 1
    April 2017
    Move over trans-fats. Move over salt. There is a new dietary enemy in town. Sugar! Common table sugar is posing a tricky future for food and beverage manufacturers. Blamed for the obesity and diabetes epidemics, sugar is being taxed in beverages and actively removed from schools. Books and talk show hosts ranting against sugar are growing popular today.
    Does it matter? Yes.
    Sugar is practically ubiquitous in packaged foods and drinks. Americans, on an average, consume as much as 75 grams of sugar daily—from packaged foods alone. That’s about 19 teaspoons of sugar each day.  That’s nearly double the global average.
  • Sit. Stay. Buy.
    The country’s leading pet retailers today offer competitive private brands for pet owners. Christopher Durham reports on the latest statistics.

    Christopher Durham
    Sit. Stay. Buy.
    April 2017
    Well over half of the households in the United States own a pet – almost 80 million homes. All those pets need to be cared for – and with over 300 million pets in the US, that makes for a booming private brand business.
    The bond between American shoppers and their pets continues to drive growth in the channel. That bond has created a shift that has created the trendy new term “pet parent.” Most pet owners characterize their pets as family members and do not hesitate to spend money on them. In market research from Packaged Facts’ National Pet Owner Survey, 79% of dog owners and 77% of cat owners consider their pets a member of the family.
    Specialty retailers PetSmart and Petco account for more than 20% of all pet product sales in the US, according to Packaged Facts.
  • Lidl’s Executive Change
    A new CEO at Lidl, just months before the chain’s U.S. debut, has many wondering about the company’s strategy. David Merrefield examines the change.

    David Merrefield
    Lidl’s Executive Change
    April 2017
    There’s been quite a bit of publicity in the U.S about the German retailer Lidl. It is a soft-discount grocery and nonfood retailer that operates 10,000 stores in 27 countries and is now poised to establish a beachhead in the U.S.   
    Some of the publicity, however, has been about its management. Jesper Hojer was just named CEO of Lidl. He is a Dane and a 10 year veteran of Lidl. Most recently, he headed Lidl’s international buying operation. His predecessor was Sven Seidel who resigned from the same post after just three years. Seidel’s predecessor was Karl-Heinz Holland, who had been CEO for eight years. 
    These upper-echelon changes at Lidl have focused a lot of attention on what is going on there and whether it has any significance for Lidl’s entrance into America.
PLMALive! Archives:
the Best of the Year Past
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.

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.

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.

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.

Big Brands Struggle

Ali Dibadj, Senior Vice President for Bernstein Research, says cutbacks by the big brands are creating an opportunity for store brands.

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.