Private-label versus corporate brands : a qualitative study

Arendse, Garron Mark (2008-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Competition in food retailing has become a noticeable cosmopolitan phenomenon. Competitiveness filters down from retailers and their private-label brands to the suppliers and their manufacturer brands. Furthermore, the proliferation of food retailing has evolved into a double-edged sword for suppliers and manufacturers of both private-label and manufacturer/supplier-branded goods. Therefore, these suppliers, in comparison to those that solely manufacture national-brand goods, has to continuously maintain a favourable status quo on shelf with regard to brand performance, product quality and price of both retailer and supplier brands. Moreover, in store and on shelf, consumers of these brands are overloaded with choices between different packaging, prices and product statements. All relevant and eye catching, but do the supplier brands get the worst of the bargain? The objective of this study was to perform a qualitatively analysis on the supplier value of being a supplier of both privatelabel and manufacturer brands to the food-retail industry. The empirical study encompassed one-an-one and electronic interviews with key participants from specific food retailers to obtain answers validly, objectively and economically. The researcher employed a qualitative research approach together with a non-probability sampling strategy to explore the retail environment and interview participants. The three retailers that participated in the qualitative study were SPAR and Shoprite from South Africa and Morrisons from the United Kingdom. Interviews were scheduled with each participant that was available to participate and actively contribute to the outcome of this study. Interviews were conducted with a pre-set list of open-ended questions that was prepared in a discussion guide. Content analysis was then done on the interview feedback and this was used to formulate major findings and provide justification for the research objectives and propositions of this study. From the major findings in this study five themes were identified: growth, challenges, competitive environment, brand differentiation and supplier-retailer relationship. Findings indicated that retailers - regardless of their global location, consumer base and competitive environment - were mostly focused on growing their company and their respective private-label brand. Depending on the volatility of the supplier-retailer relationship, this growth focus could even come at the expense of a manufacturer's brand. The study also revealed that retailers are faced with a number of different challenges, which include deciding whether a product is fit to be sold under their private-label brand and if a supplier's strategy supports their own company strategy. The challenges encompass dependability of supply, quality of product and delivery reliability. Additionally, prime area for retailing is becoming more condensed in South Africa and as a result competition between the four major South African retailers is more vibrant. The study has noted that major retailers are also seeking expansion into emerging markets outside the metropolitan areas in South Africa, which will increase demand and create new customer expectations. Competitiveness and a point of difference would then be underpinned by innovation , creating a favourable shopping experience and service delivery, but with no compromise on quality and price. When considering brand differentiation, the study revealed that retailers were using this differentiation to increase private-label market share among the national brands whereas suppliers use it to create aspirational brands that attract and sustain consumer loyalty. It was concluded from this study that the growing availability and presence of private-label products in all categories on retailer shelves will become a serious threat for growing national brands that have not yet established themselves as market leaders. This threat will be further enhanced by the fact that retailers are using real estate and shelf space as leverage to negotiate. Regarding supplier-retailer relationship, this study showed that a retailer's focus will always be biased with the balance of power tilting in favour of the retailer, speCifically where a supplier is considered to be a supplier of both private-label and manufacturer brands. Although the latter is an industry norm, the power balance is complicated by the fact that no contract exists between supplier and retailer. As a result, a show of goodwill and a hand shake will seldom have the one-sided situation swing in favour of a supplier. Nonetheless, retailers' feedback indicated that they would rather develop relationships with suppliers that either have brands with smaller market share or only manufacture private-label products.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Mededinging in die voedselkleinhandel het 'n merkbare kosmopolitaanse verskynsel geword. Mededingendheid syfer van kleinhandelaars en hul private handelsmerke na verskaffers en hul vervaardigershandelsmerke deur. Voorts het uitbreiding in die voedselkleinhandel in 'n tweesnydende swaard vir verskaffers en vervaardigers van goedere vir sowel private as vervaardigersIverskaffershandelsmerke ontwikkel. Daarom moet hierdie verskaffers, vergeleke met diegene wat slegs goedere vir nasionale handelsmerke vervaardig, voortdurend 'n gunstige status quo op die rak handhaaf ten opsigte van die handelsmerkprestasie, produkgehalte en prys van sowel private as verskaffershandelsmerke. Origens word verbruikers van hierdie handelsmerke, in die winkel en op die rak, oorlaai met keuses tussen verskillende verpakking, pryse en produkverklarings. Dit is alles tersaaklik en treffend, maar trek die verskaffershandelsmerke aan die kortste end? Die oogmerk van hierdie studie was om 'n kwalitatiewe ontleding te doen van die waarde vir die verskaffer om 'n verskaffer van sowel private as vervaardigershandelsmerke vir die voedselkleinhandel te wees. Die empiriese studie het persoonlike en elektroniese onderhoude met sleuteldeelnemers van spesifieke voedselkleinhandelaars behels om op geldige, objektiewe en ekonomiese wyse antwoorde te bekom. Die navorser het 'n kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering gevolg tesame met 'n niewaarskynlikheidsteekproefnemingstrategie om die kleinhandelomgewing te verken en onderhoude met deelnemers te voer. Die drie kleinhandelaars wat aan die kwalitatiewe studie deelgeneem het, was SPAR en Shoprite van Suid-Afrika en Morrisons van die Verenigde Koninkryk. Onderhoude is geskeduleer met elke deelnemer wat vir deelname beskikbaar was en aktief tot die uitkoms van die studie wou bydra. Onderhoude is gevoer met 'n voorafbepaalde lys oop vrae wat in 'n besprekingsgids saamgevat is. Inhoudsontleding is daarna gedoen ten opsigte van die terugvoering wat tydens die onderhoude ontvang is. Dit is gebruik om hoofbevindinge te formuleer en motivering vir die navorsingsoogmerke en stellings van die studie te bied. Op grond van die hoofbevindinge van die studie is vyf temas geïdentifiseer: groei, uitdagings, mededingende omgewing, handelsmerkdifferensiasie en verhouding tussen verskaffer en kleinhandelaar. Die bevindinge het getoon dat kleinhandelaars - ongeag waar hulle hul in die wêreld bevind, hul verbruikersbasis en mededingende omgewing - meestal op hul maatskappy en hul private handelsmerk se groei toegespits is. Na gelang van die wisselvalligheid van die verhouding tussen verskaffer en kleinhandelaar kan hierdie fokus op groei selfs ten koste van 'n vervaardigershandelsmerk plaasvind. Die studie het ook getoon dat kleinhandelaars voor verskeie uitdagings te staan kom, waaronder die besluit of 'n produk geskik is om onder hul private handelsmerk verkoop te word en of 'n verskaffer se strategie hul eie maatskappystrategie ondersteun. Die uitdagings sluit ook betroubaarheid ten opsigte van voorraad, produkgehalte en lewering in. Daarby word die eersteklasgebied vir klein handel in Suid-Afrika toenemend digter en as gevolg daarvan is mededinging tussen die vier vernaamste Suid-Afrikaanse kleinhandelaars lewendiger. Die studie het bevind dat vername kleinhandelaars ook na ontluikende markte buite die metropolitaanse gebiede in Suid-Afrika wil uitbrei, wat die vraag sal vergroot en nuwe verbruikersverwagtinge sal skep. Mededingendheid en 'n verskilpunt sal dan deur innovering, die skepping van 'n aangename inkopie-ervaring en dienslewering - sonder benadeling van gehalte en prys - ondersteun word. Ten opsigte van handelsmerkdifferensiasie het die studie getoon dat kleinhandelaars hierdie differensiasie gebruik om die markaandeel van private handelsmerke onder nasionale handelsmerke te verhoog, terwyl verskaffers dit gebruik om aspirasie-handelsmerke te skep wat verbruikerslojaliteit lok en behou. Daar is van die studie afgelei dat die toenemende beskikbaarheid en teenwoordigheid van produkte onder private handelsmerke in alle kategorieë op kleinhandelaars se rakke 'n ernstige bedreiging sal word vir groeiende nasionale handelsmerke wat hulle nog nie as markleiers gevestig het nie. Hierdie bedreiging sal versterk word deur die feit dat kleinhandelaars eiendom en rakruimte vir mag in onderhandeling sal gebruik. Ten opsigte van die verhouding tussen verskaffer en kleinhandelaar het hierdie studie getoon dat 'n kleinhandelaar se fokus altyd partydig sal wees, met die magsbalans ten gunste van die kleinhandelaar, veral indien 'n verskaffer as verskaffer van sowel private as vervaardigershandelsmerke beskou word. Alhoewel laasgenoemde 'n bedryfsnorm is, word die magsbalans bemoeilik deur die feit dat daar geen kontrak tussen die verskaffer en die kleinhandelaar bestaan nie. As gevolg daarvan sal 'n welwillendheidsgebaar en 'n handdruk selde daartoe lei dat die eensydige situasie ten gunste van die verskaffer sal draai. Kleinhandelaars se terugvoering het nietemin aangedui dat hulle eerder verhoudings met verskaffers sal ontwikkel wat of handelsmerke met 'n kleiner markaandeel het of produkte vir private handelsmerke vervaardig .

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18155
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