In the Aisles: Our finest moment

Seth Mendelson
Publisher and Editor in Chief
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Trying times, indeed.

But when we look back on the second quarter of 2020, there is a good chance that many in the mass retail world will say that this was the industry’s finest moment. And, private label played a big role in helping consumers through these difficult times.

There is no doubt that the coronavirus threw a curve ball at the retail industry in March and April. Consumers rushed stores, seeking everything from the now-famous toilet paper to canned goods to survive the pandemic. While retailers were stretched thin, it is now clear that they did not break, especially during the early days of the crisis.

Instead, over the first two weeks of the crisis, they began to develop strategies that would ensure products were on store shelves and that their stores were as clean and as safe as possible for their customers and their employees. Store hours were shortened so shelves could be re-stocked and units cleaned. Limits were put on some of the most desired products. The number of shoppers in the store at any one time was also limited.

Overall, these programs worked quite well. Consumer confidence in the supply chain increased, and stores were able to stop the panic and convince shoppers that there was plenty of product to go around — yes, even toilet paper.

Private label and store brands played a huge role in this. Retailers turned to their own private label and store brand suppliers for help to replenish supplies in many key categories. Those suppliers, for the most part, did their part, stepping up their own manufacturing process and making sure that the merchandise got to their retail partners as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Some may even say that private label and store brands could be a big winner in all of this. Consumers who would not normally purchase these items are now forced to consider them in certain categories. Trial could very easily lead to conversion in many cases.

Of course, it is not over yet. The supply chain, including private label and store brand items, must continue to work. Suppliers must keep doing their part and make sure that products get to store shelves at fair price points. Retailers must keep everyone safe and make sure that demand is met.

Tough times. But we have this one covered.


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