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Walmart adds to private label line

Price First brand gives retailer a three-tier store brand strategy

Walmart is adding a new line to help bulk up its private-label offering.

Price First, a low-budget brand, was introduced to Canadian stores over the summer, with a limited selection of 20 SKUs.

About another 80 SKUs will be added over the next six months and potentially hundreds more to come, said Sandra Farwell, vice-president of private brands for Walmart, based in Mississauga, Ont.

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Farwell described Price First as Walmart’s “opening price point” for consumers, with the Great Value Brand offering mid-price points and Our Finest the best-quality tier.

Price First was piloted in the United States over the past year but the Canadian division of Walmart had input on the product’s name and no-frills blue, yellow and white pack design.

“We chose something that would work in both countries,” Farwell told Canadian Grocer.

Price First is replacing around 20 “tertiary” private-label brands at Walmart, such as Satin Soft in paper products.

Walmart launched Price First in Canada with everyday consumables such as aluminum foil, facial tissues and other paper products.

Salad dressings, cookies, ice cream and cereal have also been added.

“We’ll probably get up to 300 SKUs in the next two years,” Farwell said.

On a recent Saturday, a Walmart store in Scarborough, Ont. stocked several varieties of cereal under the Price First name, including Frosted Corn Flakes (680 gram boxes) and  Crisp Rice (525 grams). All were priced at $2.50.

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As Price First rolls out, Walmart is giving its largest private-label brand, Great Value, an upgrade with packaging design revisions that include more colour and better photography.

It’s also relaunching its private-label fresh line, called Your Fresh Market.

A grape tomato under the Your Fresh Market brand is just hitting stores now and Walmart introduced a Your Fresh Market Angus beef program, made with 100% Canadian Angus beef.

Your Fresh Market first hit stores two and a half years ago with a selection of baked goods.

Farwell said that Walmart had been underdeveloped in private label in Canada and sees store brands as a big opportunity for the company.

“We’re really focused on the quality of the products,” she said.

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