New report cites Target own brands, others as best in category

Research firm Future Commerce focused on nine themes in retail, including own brands that are elevating their stores.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Future Commerce, a retail media research firm, has high praise for where the private label industry is headed. In the company’s recent Nine by Nine report, Future Commerce includes a section on “private label grails,” and how own brands are elevating retail stores, especially as a result of the pandemic. Target’s own brands came away with the most praise in the report.

“The reason private labels are becoming grails is because private label products are becoming better than name brand products,” said Future Commerce in the 32 page report. “Costco’s Kirkland trail mix? Better than name brand. Walgreens-brand Ibuprofen? At least as good as the name brand. Compare Whole Foods 365 with traditional CPG organics. We know what we would pick. These brands and others have created incredible private label products that are not only desirable because of their excellent, excellent quality, but are also expertly designed to be more easily merchandised and marketed. They compete with other modern brands on every level.”

Like the other sections of the report, Future Commerce cites nine private label brands as examples of noteworthy brands in categories like food, beverage, beauty, home and aparell, with Target brands holding five of the nine spots.

“Target, for instance, began revamping its private labels a few years back. This is not new by any means, but it launched their private men’s label Goodfellow & Co. about three or four years ago which eventually replaced the license that it had with Mossimo. And now they’ve just launched a pet food brand called Kindfull, which looks way more interesting than the other stuff sitting on the shelf.”

The brands listed as “private label grails” include Cat and Jack (Target), Hearth and Hand (Magnolia/Target), Smartly (Target), Nod (Tuft & Needle/Amazon), Trader Joe’s, Good and Gather (Target), Amazon Basics, More than Magic (Target), and REI.

“The truth is, a lot of these in-house brands don’t even appear to be private labels anymore,” wrote Future Commerce. “That’s how well they’re being differentiated. Get ready for a new world of best in class brands created by in-house teams.”

The full report can be found here.