Kroger launches Smart Way ‘opening price point’ private label line

As our customers face an ongoing inflationary environment, we know they are looking to stretch their dollars further than ever before,” ​said SVP and chief merchant and marketing officer Stuart Aitken.

Smart Way is an exciting, eye-pleasing product line that will be easy for customers to find. By adding a simplified opening price point brand strategy to Our Brands portfolio, we will further cater to every customer, every time.”

Smart Way provides a budget option to Kroger’s expanding private label portfolio, which includes the namesake Kroger brand, Simple Truth, Private Selection, Home Chef and Heritage Farm.

There are approximately 150 Smart Way products on shelves nationwide today, with additional items hitting stores later this year, said the firm, which posted a 5.8% rise in same store sales (excluding fuel) in the second quarter and a 10.2% increase in sales of private label products in the same period​.

Bernstein: Private label steals share as branded players take ‘record pricing’

According to analysts at Bernstein, private label $ market share reached 19.6% over the past 12 weeks in US measured retail channels—up ~85bp year-on-year—”as branded competitors took record pricing.”

In a note issued Thursday, they explained that in ​the years leading up to the pandemic, private label consistently took market share from branded players, but this reversed in 2020 as government stimulus, shifts in spending, and retailer prioritization of branded products took hold. 

“By August 2021, private label market share had declined -52bp on a rolling 12-week basis compared to the same period in 2019. But as record price increases from branded players took hold this year, the trend reversed rapidly, and private label market share is now up +85bp YoY and is currently 19.6% of the market—32bp higher than in 2019.

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