BI-LO CHANGES PRIVATE LABEL

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bi-Lo here has changed the name and image of its private-label health and beauty care line, said Ron Hall, director of private brands for the 260-store chain.The new label, Finast, has replaced the Bi-Lo private brand. The move is part of a chainwide effort to switch to the Finast label at four of the U. S. divisions of Ahold USA, Parsippany, N. J., owned by Royal Ahold, Netherlands.

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bi-Lo here has changed the name and image of its private-label health and beauty care line, said Ron Hall, director of private brands for the 260-store chain.

The new label, Finast, has replaced the Bi-Lo private brand. The move is part of a chainwide effort to switch to the Finast label at four of the U. S. divisions of Ahold USA, Parsippany, N. J., owned by Royal Ahold, Netherlands. Other divisions merchandising the label are Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn.; Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa. Finast, Maple Heights, Ohio, already carries the Finast private label.

Finast was selected as the unifying label among the other divisions, according to a Finast executive, because "we thought that Finast was the best name to use for the chainwide revamping. The name says it. Finast -- it says that in that name there is integrity and quality. It's a new label for most of our divisions. Previously we all had our own labels."

However, Tops Markets, Buffalo, N.Y., will keep the Tops and Top Care brands.

"We made the decision to stick with Tops and Top Care as Tops' private brand," said Chuck Fletch, HBA buyer for Tops Markets, "because our own store brand is so well respected and well recognized."

Bi-Lo is heavily promoting the Finast label with weekly advertisements that feature the products. The chain expects the new private brand to be a major contributor to profit in HBC.

Finast products will be merchandised on the shelves next to their national brand counterparts. There are 160 stockkeeping units in the Finast line. Section sizes will remain the same.

"We expect to achieve a higher private-brand penetration with the additional SKUs," Hall added.

In October 1994, all Ahold divisions switched to a new distribution center owned by American Sales, Buffalo, N.Y., which is owned by Ahold USA. Bi-Lo previously used Malone & Hyde, now owned by Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City.

A contributing reason for the change was that American Sales provided greater HBC access and purchasing efficiency, according to Hall of Bi-Lo. Ahold is one of the leaders of private label in Europe. According to Hall, this was not a factor in Ahold USA's new strategy.