SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Target Corp (TGT.N) is looking to make its namesake store brand a hit with consumers by giving it a new name and getting rid of the familiar bull’s-eye on the package.
The Target brand line, which includes sunscreen, tissues and diapers, will now be more easily recognized across store aisles with packaging marked with a big, colorful arrow on a white background that says “up & up” — the brand’s new name.
“We believe that it will stand out on the shelf, and it is so distinctive that we’ll get new guests that will want to try it that maybe didn’t even notice the Target brand before,” said Kathee Tesija, executive vice president of merchandising for Target, in an interview.
As consumers look for ways to stretch limited budgets during the recession, retailers have increased their focus on their own private brands, which typically sell for less than name-brand goods but provide better margins.
According to a study commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, three out of 10 consumers said they are “buying more store brand products” compared with a year ago.
Earlier this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) began the relaunch of its Great Value private brand with more than 80 new products and distinctive packaging.
The Target Brand is one of the retailer’s top five largest private brands, and Tesija said up & up has been about a year and a half in the making. Renamed products began landing on its shelves in March, and the line will be rolled out across 40 product categories from now until the early autumn.
Target said it will promote the brand, which tends to be priced about 30 percent less than brand-name equivalent products, in its weekly advertising circulars, online and in its stores.
The Target brand, which was first introduced in 1962 when the retailer opened its stores, had been growing at a 25 percent compound annual growth rate for the past five years, Tesija said. Up & up will likely get more space on its shelves if that growth rate persists, she said.
Target still will focus on selling brand-name products.
“That’s what we do and most of what we sell,” Tesija said. But name-brand items that are not the No. 1 or No. 2 product in their category could be replaced by an up & up item, she said.
Up & up includes roughly 730 items now, but it will number closer to 800 by the end of the year. Target has added baby food and laundry detergent to the up & up brand, and said it is seeing better-than-expected sales from the new up & up items that have already arrived on its shelves.
Editing by Steve Orlofsky