GIANT OFFERS BUDGET OPTION

CARLISLE, Pa. - With a new low-priced private-label line, Giant Food Stores here is making a greater play for the budget shopper.Guaranteed Value consists of about 70 commonly purchased products in the grocery, home cleaning product, household goods and pet food categories. Giant launched the products recently at its 257 stores, which operate under the Giant Food Stores, Tops Markets and Martin's

CARLISLE, Pa. - With a new low-priced private-label line, Giant Food Stores here is making a greater play for the budget shopper.

Guaranteed Value consists of about 70 commonly purchased products in the grocery, home cleaning product, household goods and pet food categories. Giant launched the products recently at its 257 stores, which operate under the Giant Food Stores, Tops Markets and Martin's Food Markets banners.

Guaranteed Value gives the retailer a low-cost private-label tier and joins other corporate brands like the Giant brand of cookies and crackers, Nature's Promise natural and organics, and CareOne health care line. Those tend to cost 10% to 20% less than the national brand, while Guaranteed Value costs 20% to 35% less, depending on the category and promotions the national brand may be running.

"With Guaranteed Value, we are targeting the very cost-conscious customer who is looking at good quality at a much deeper discount," said Tracy Pawelski, spokeswoman for Giant. "Research has indicated that people are shopping at a variety of different stores. They're shopping at discount stores, and certainly, customers are looking at the lowest price point."

Giant already promotes a low-price image with a combination of everyday low price and weekly specials.

Giant promoted the new line with in-store displays and through its circular. Products are merchandised in-line.

A recent Top's circular featured three Guaranteed Value items: trash bags, 100-count box for $3.79; tomato sauce, 28 ounce can, 69 cents; and dish detergent, 19 ounces, 98 cents.

The initiative is part of a greater trend among supermarkets to get their prices more competitive with value-oriented operators.

"The dollar store channel is growing very quickly throughout the Northeast, and we're beginning to see more limited-assortment activity," said Jon Hauptman, vice president at the Willard Bishop consulting firm. "What this does is help Giant better appeal to specification buyers, meaning shoppers who are looking for just a good or decent quality option, and they're willing to make brand and package size tradeoffs to do it."

Dollar aisles have become a popular way for conventional supermarkets to let shoppers know they can get bargains there, but by integrating a line like Guaranteed Value into the regular aisles, said Hauptman, "It makes shoppers more comfortable shopping the store more intensively."