Control label experiment

National Grocers is conducting a revolutionary control label experiment in its Hasty Market convenience store chain.Don French, director of franchising for the 63-outlet Ontario chain, says selected stores are carrying between 90% and 95% President's Choice and No Name products.Toronto-based National...

National Grocers is conducting a revolutionary control label experiment in its Hasty Market convenience store chain.

Don French, director of franchising for the 63-outlet Ontario chain, says selected stores are carrying between 90% and 95% President’s Choice and No Name products.

Toronto-based National Grocers also owns Loblaw Companies, developer of the President’s Choice and No Name brands.

Stores involved in the experiment carry virtually no national brands, apart from such categories as confectionery goods, soft drinks and salty snack foods.

For the past several years, Hasty Market has been trying out different house brand products in its stores.

But French says the current phase of the experiment began only recently.

‘Most of the stores find the President’s Choice and No Name brands are very successful, so it is a matter of increasing the number and variety of products,’ he says.

Elsewhere in Canada, at least one other convenience store chain stocks control label goods popularized by a leading grocery store chain.

In Quebec, Provisoir sells Zel brand products also sold by Provigo. Both chains are owned by Montreal-based Univac.

John Torella, a senior consultant with Toronto retail consultancy John C. Williams Consultants, says grocery retailers typically offer a broad range of national brands in order to attract consumers to their stores.

But he notes convenience stores could probably get away with a higher percentage of house brands, since their chief selling point is convenience, not national brand selection.