Store Brands Eked Out 1% Sales Growth Last Year

Feb. 18, 2022
$199 billion (all categories) still a record after a blockbuster 2020.

Sales of private label/store brand products in 2021 "were up, then down, but finished strong," eking out a 1% increase to a record $199 billion in all U.S. retail channels, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Assn. (PLMA).

2020 was a hard act to follow. PLMA acknowledged "the unprecedented, Covid-fueled, double-digit sales gains from 2020 [when] retail brands jumped 12% in dollar sales amid the shutdown of foodservice, a greater emphasis on cooking at home and the boom in online grocery shopping. That exceeded national brands’ gain, which were up 10%."

Private brand dollar share last year was 17.7%, while unit share came in at 19.6%, both representing increases over a three-year period, according to a PLMA report, based on data from IRI. While food is the biggest category, the figures include health care products and general merchandise.

In the eight largest departments covered by IRI, private label grew in six. In the largest category - refrigerated foods - store brands increased by 0.7%, followed by general merchandise (+1.7%), health care products (+0.2%), frozen (+0.8%), produce (+11.4%) and beverages (+2.7%).

Private label sales continue to grow this year, with January sales up 4.2% in dollar volume across all U.S. retailing channels, compared to the same period in 2021. The increase was about equal to the 4.4% growth of national brands.

Private label manufacturers kept pace with new product introductions. Catalina, a marketing intelligence service, earlier reported private label product rollouts declined 34% year-over-year in 2020 and 54% in 2021; but for national brands, the respective declines were 46% and 65%.

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