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Albertsons unveils ultra-premium private brand

Signature Reserve furthers expansion of retailer’s brand portfolio

Albertsons Cos. has introduced Signature Reserve, a new label that the grocery retailer said brings a “top-shelf culinary presence” to its growing roster of private label brands.

Signature Reserve’s initial launch includes seven flavors of ice cream, which Albertsons said Thursday are now available at its stores nationwide. The superpremium ice cream contains globally sourced ingredients and comes in flavors that include Brazilian Guava Cheesecake, Madagascar Vanilla, Colombian Cold Brew Caramel, Bourbon Maple Blondie, Indian Cardamom Pistachio, Caramel Apple Chai and Belgian Chocolate Almond.

More Signature Reserve products in other categories will be rolled out this year. Items are slated to include pasta and pasta sauces imported from Italy, single-origin packaged coffees from Sumatra and Nicaragua, and four varieties of handpicked loose leaf tea.

According to Geoff White, president of own brands at Albertsons, Signature Reserve products adhere to “exacting standards” for ingredients and flavor and cater to the increasingly sophisticated tastes of many consumers.

“Shoppers are more educated and interested in culinary trends than ever before, and Signature Reserve will surprise and delight them with unique and exciting products that are found only in our stores,” White said in a statement.

“Products earn the Signature Reserve label only after a rigorous selection process, which includes scrutiny by our culinary professionals and expert merchants for top quality craftsmanship,” he added.

Albertsons has made private label brands a pillar of its growth strategy. Earlier this month, the Boise, Idaho-based company said it plans to add nearly 1,400 new products across its store banners in 2018 — double the total of last year’s new-item launches.

The introductions will span the retailer’s private label portfolio, which includes the brands O Organics, Lucerne, Open Nature, Signature, Waterfront Bistro, Value Corner, Primo Taglio and debi lilly design. Four of the labels — O Organics, Lucerne, Signature Select and Signature Café — are billion-dollar brands.

More than 600 new Signature products are slated to roll out this year. The brand, which Albertsons said generates almost $6 billion in sales, covers over 400 product categories and includes the labels Signature Café, Signature Farms, Signature Care and Signature Select, as well as Signature Reserve.

Own brands also are a strategic linchpin of Albertsons’ pending merger with Rite Aid Corp. In a mid-May investor presentation, company executives noted that private label customers shop more frequently and tend to spend more.

Plans call for the retailers to bring Albertsons grocery brands — such as O Organics, Open Nature, Lucerne, Signature Select and Signature Café — to the front end in Rite Aid stores, and the drug chain’s health-and-beauty care store brands to Albertsons’ supermarket banners. Executives said Albertsons and Rite Aid aim to raise private-brand penetration from 23% and 19%, respectively, to 30% as a merged company, which overall would have a $12 billion own-brand portfolio.

TAGS: Center Store
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