Private Label CPG Unit Sales Fall

April 19, 2010

Partially reversing a trend set in January and February 2010, private label CPG dollar sales rose for the third straight month in March 2010, but unit sales slightly fell. According to research firm The Nielsen Company, during the four-week period ended March 20, 2010, private label CPG dollar sales rose 2.1% on an annual basis, but unit sales fell 0.6%

Dollar Sales Total $6.75B
Dollar sales of prepackaged, UPC-coded CPG goods were $6.75 billion during the most recently tracked four-week period, compared to $6.6 billion during the same period a year earlier. Combo pack sales underwent an especially strong 33.6% sales growth, rising from $11.2 million to $14.9 million. Fresh produce, the dollar sales growth leader in February 2010, trailed with a 13.5% annual sales increase, rising from $215.5 million to $244.6 million. Alcoholic beverages continued a monthly trend of strong annual sales growth begun in fall 2009, growing 12.1% from $11.6 million to $13 million.

Dairy sales have also been setting a trend since fall 2009, but unlike alcholic beverages the trend is one of negative growth. Dairy sales fell 0.6% compared to the equivalent period in 2009, from $1.5 billion to $1.49 billion.

Dollar Segment Share Incrementally Grows
Annual growth for private label CPG goods in terms of dollar segment share was a fraction of 1% for the fifth straight month. Dollar sales of private label CPG goods rose 0.4% for the second straight month, from 17% of the segment in March 2009 to 17.3% in March 2010. Branded CPG goods accounted for the remaining 82.7% of the segment.

The only departments which experienced an annual positive dollar segment share increase of 1% or more were combo pack (3.5%), fresh meat (2.6%), and fresh produce (1.7%). Dairy had negative dollar segment share growth for the sixth straight month with negative 0.1%.


Unit Sales Fall to 3.03B
Total unit sales for March 2010 were 3.03 billion, down from 3.05 billion in March 2009. Combo pack unit sales increased 35.3%, from 1.6 million units to 2.2 million units. Fresh produce sales increased 16%, from 85.2 million units to 98.8 million units. Fresh meat sales grew 15.9%, from 8.9 million units to 10.3 million units.

As opposed to February 2010, when five departments reported negative unit sales growth, in March 2010 three did so. Dairy unit sales declined 2.7%, from 717.8 million units to 698.6 million units. Dry grocery unit sales dropped 1.6%, from 1.47 billion units to 1.44 billion units. Non-food grocery units sales fell 0.5%, from 234.3 million units to 233.2 million units.

Unit Segment Share Stays Flat
In February 2010, CPG unit segment share only increasing 0.1%. It remained flat in March 2010, with private label CPG goods accounting for 18.2% of the segment. Branded CPG goods accounted for the remaining 81.8% of the segment.

Combo pack led all departments with 3.6% unit segment share growth, followed by fresh meat (2.6%) and fresh produce (2.1%). Dairy lost 1.2% unit segment share, with dry grocery losing 0.5%.

Private Label CPG Unit, Dollar Share Soar in ’09
Prepacked, UPC-coded private label CPG brands represented 21.8% of unit volume in 2009 while only comprising 10% of items in stores, according to The Nielsen Company. Both unit and dollar share of private label CPG brands rose substantially in the 52 weeks ended December 26, 2009 compared to the 52 weeks ended December 27, 2008. Unit share increased 31.3%, from 16.6% to 20.8%, and dollar share increased 28.2%, from 17% to 21.8%.

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