Elaine Watson
Safeway is pumping £3m into its biggest ever own brand development programme.
In order to boost its own label penetration from 31% to the market average of more than 40%, Safeway will "substantially increase" the size and quality of its own label offer across 100 categories, said new product development manager Judith Batchelar. The move ties in with the installation of a web-based new product development system which Safeway claims will slash time to market and improve dataflow with its supplier base.
Suppliers were briefed on the system this week in meetings with technical managers.
The range review represents a "huge opportunity for suppliers", said Batchelar. "We are inviting them to Hayes on a category or cross category basis to brief them about our plans.
"We have big aspirations for own brand because it plays a pivotal role in differentiating the Safeway brand. We'll look at all categories, but there will be an emphasis on fresh and chilled,with new ranges in hot pies and meats, desserts and fresh meat next month with the strapline Spoilt for Choice."
The desserts category will be overhauled with a new chilled puddings section, bringing together dairy- and bakery-based puddings, while new merchandising units, fixtures and fittings will also be developed as the ranges come in, said Batchelar.
"There will be a major piece of activity in store every month as we gear up to a big push on healthy eating and ready meals in the new year and a relaunch of the Best range in February."

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