The growth of own label across Europe will continue as trends point to new merchandising and marketing opportunities for retailers. "Market share for own label in Spain is anticipated to reach 20% in volume, while market share in Italy is projected to advance to 17%," according to Brian Sharoff, president of the Private Label Manufacturers' Association. "In Germany, Wal-Mart's expansion is not only heightening competitive pressures but creating a new perspective on own label. Retailers are shifting from an emphasis on low price ranges to marketing higher quality own label products." France is expected to continue as a very dynamic market for own label. Growth will be especially strong in non-food categories, such as do-it-yourself, and garden products, Sharoff says. Own label is also expanding in the fresh food categories, a trend evident in the UK and which is now spreading throughout Europe. Own label's success in Europe is reflected in the expansion of PLMA's annual trade show, to be held on May 23-24 at Amsterdam's RAI Exhibition Centre. The event is expected to draw a record number of visitors and more than 2,700 exhibition stands representing manufacturers from over 44 countries. An expanded pre-show seminar programme on May 22 allows for a packaging and design showcase on the exhibition floor. It will highlight the latest developments in flexible and rigid packaging and containers, closures and labels. The seminar programme will be followed by the show's annual AC Nielsen report on the latest market share trends in own label in Europe. The New Product Expo will feature again outside the exhibition floor and the PLMA is also intensifying its commitment to perishables, with a pavilion of 370 stands. Britain will again be well represented at the show. There will be 22 companies participating in the Food from Britain pavilion, and 42 companies are exhibiting in the non food section. Among retailers registered to visit the show are Casino, Delhaize, Ahold, Metro, Monoprix, Wal-Mart and Coop Italia. For more information contact the PLMA's World of Private Label at tel: 31 20 5753032 or fax 31 20 5753093. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}