D&W PLANS TO ADD NEW PRODUCTS TO PRIVATE LABEL

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- D&W Food Centers here plans to expand its private label "D&W" offerings throughout the chain, which has 26 stores in western Michigan.The D&W label has met with success in the numerous categories in which it has been introduced, so company officials felt the time was right to add some new ones. "Some are commodity-based (like coffee, tea or sugar); others will go into the natural

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- D&W Food Centers here plans to expand its private label "D&W" offerings throughout the chain, which has 26 stores in western Michigan.

The D&W label has met with success in the numerous categories in which it has been introduced, so company officials felt the time was right to add some new ones. "Some are commodity-based (like coffee, tea or sugar); others will go into the natural food arena, like a select olive oil, or a premium ice cream," explained Ron Cox, vice president of marketing for the company.

In addition, beginning Oct. 15, D&W introduced the Richfood brand as a secondary private label. Based in Richmond, Va., Richfood is a wholly owned subsidiary of SuperValu, which D&W earlier named to replace Spartan Stores, also based here, as its primary wholesale supplier.

The Richfood products will supplement national brand names in many categories that do not have a D&W label product, so they will not compete head-to-head.

Once Spartan Stores acquired several grocery chains -- it now owns more than 40 stores in the same area -- it became a competitor to D&W Food Centers, so D&W officials decided the wholesale-supplier relationship was no longer appropriate.

"When we announced SuperValu as our new primary supplier, it was our desire to continue to purchase certain Spartan brand products for all stores," said Doug Blease, D&W president and chief operating officer. "At the same time, Spartan officials expressed a desire to work with us. However, they later determined that the Spartan brand would not be available to us in all locations, even though they continue to be our primary supplier in five of our stores."

The quality of the Richfood products is high, according to Cox. "We have heard very positive comments about this product in other markets, and our testing confirms that these products are of the quality our customers have come to expect from us in our stores," he said.

"We continue to look for ways to expand the D&W label, which is the most popular brand in most of the categories it occupies. We are confident our customers will find Rich Food products to be of the same exceptional quality and value," Cox added.