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NEW YORK—The Private Label Manufacturers Association announces the induction of longtime PLMA President Brian Sharoff into the Private Label Hall of Fame. Since 2006 the Hall of Fame has recognized more than 70 individuals, including retailers, manufacturers and marketing pioneers from all sectors of the private label industry for their career contributions to the growth and success of retailers’ brands in the U.S. and abroad.
Sharoff, who served as PLMA President since 1981, passed away unexpectedly in May of 2020. His induction on March 18, 2021, marks the first time in its history the Hall of Fame dedicates its entire annual celebration to a single individual.
In the words of Peggy Davies, who succeeded Sharoff as PLMA President: “Over the course of an extraordinary forty years, Brian Sharoff took PLMA from a relatively inconsequential group of fewer than 100 U.S. store brand manufacturers and suppliers to a thriving international trade organization with over 4,000 members on six continents, as well as organizer of two of the largest annual trade events in the world… [Sharoff] became the face of private label worldwide, driving a transformation of retailers’ store brands into a multi-billion-dollar global industry that altered the course of commercial history.”
While merchant names had been associated with their own branded products for hundreds of years, by the mid-twentieth century, mass media advertising in the U.S. and elsewhere had given rise to national brands that dominated the marketplace. The brief appearance of unbranded “generic” products in the 1970s had given many retailers a taste of private label’s potential, but consumers’ perception of the products’ quality was largely negative.
A son of Brooklyn shopkeepers, Brian was in his late 30s when he was recruited to lead a fledgling Private Label Manufacturers Association as president following three terms in the New York State legislature representing his Brooklyn neighbors, and then serving as executive vice president of a metropolitan merchant association for major department stores in New York City. Sharoff saw an opportunity to change the dynamics of private label by emphasizing two imperatives: higher quality and the retailers’ ownership of their brands. “If you use the word private label,” he observed, “consumers and the media would continue to ask, who makes it? But the term ‘store brands’ shifted the focus away from the manufacturer to the retailer.”
Sharoff, says Davies, “saw enormous potential for store brands evolution reaching far beyond lower-price alternatives or even mere equivalents to national brands. But he also brought to the industry unique mastery of the powers of information, communication, focus, and commitment to the buyer-seller relationships essential to building the bridges between what is and what could be.”
The Private Label Hall of Fame is sponsored jointly by PLMA and Store Brands magazine. The March 2021 issue of Store Brands includes a special feature dedicated to Sharoff and his induction to the Hall of Fame.
NEW YORK—An entirely new approach to the virtual trade show experience, PLMA Live! Presents Private Label Week was premiered by PLMA February 1, 2021 for U.S. retailers and private label suppliers. A total of more than 800 exhibiting companies and nearly 1,500 retail buyers and visitors signed up to participate in a five-day online event that rolled out daily openings for four virtual show floors, each featuring its own group of food or nonfood categories.
The digital category trade shows are unprecedented, unique, and they continue to be available to retailers and pre-registered visitors through April 30, 2021. Their foundation, a proprietary platform that was developed and launched by PLMA exclusively for its members and their retailing customers. It combines secure, live video interaction, chat and information sharing between retailers and exhibitors—similar to Zoom or Microsoft Teams—with five days of original on-demand video programming (click link to view) featuring interviews, news and insights, product trends and private label strategies from leading retailers and industry experts.
“Retail buyers and executives, for a three-month period, are able to discover hundreds and hundreds of suppliers offering capabilities and expertise they are seeking to expand and enhance their own brands programs,” according to PLMA president Peggy Davies. “Exhibitors may be contacted directly online to schedule live face-to-face meeting and exchange information with the retailers about the products they make.”
Latest data industry data show retailers’ emphasis on store brands product development, innovation and expansion to new categories throughout the store are growing private label sales, and the products are increasingly popular with today’s shoppers. NielsenIQ reports private label sales gained +11.6% in 2020, totaling almost $159 billion, and market share in units exceeded 23% even as the pandemic brought extreme shifts in consumer behavior and purchasing across all major distribution channels.
Retailers and pre-registered visitors can access the entire PLMA trade show platform from any location or time zone 24/7 at www.PLWEEK.com. It requires only a computer running the Google Chrome browser. There are no apps, extensions or software to install.
There are four virtual show floors available for home and household products, beverages and center store foods, health & beauty products and OTC pharmaceuticals, and fresh, frozen and refrigerated foods.
For additional information about PLMALive! presents Private Label Week or to schedule an interview with PLMA President Peggy Davies, contact PLMA’s press representative at (212) 972-3131 Ext 1224, or email email@example.com.
NEW YORK—With new market dynamics driving retailers and suppliers to innovate, reinvent, and forge more strategic relationships, PLMA’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference presented an online program of industry speakers and interactive sessions that addressed strategic imperatives and explored best practices for private label partnerships as the U.S. economy, retailers and manufacturers strive toward equilibrium in 2021.
Ken Harris, Managing Partner, Cadent Consulting Group opened a dialogue on the current health of private label partnerships, citing data that documented store brands importance to retailer profitability in a year marked by extraordinary challenges. Brenda Lord, Vice President, Private Brands & Quality Assurance, CVS Health, and store brands provide a retailer’s perspective on the present and future role of private brands and the private label partnership.
Afterwards, Ken Harris led an industry panel discussion featuring Lord, along with Don Davidson, Vice President, Strategic Sourcing for Albertsons Companies, Troy Pelak, Vice President Regional Sales for Perrigo Company, and Clay Dockery, Vice President - Corporate Brands, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA.
PLMA’s Annual Meeting provided members and guests with important information on the state of the association and plans for its future. Following a report by PLMA President Peggy Davies, members voted to elect their Executive Committee leadership, as well as new members to the PLMA Board of Directors.
In the afternoon, Duncan Wardle, the former Vice President of Innovation and Creativity for The Walt Disney Company, led participants in interactive group sessions to show how questioning and imagination become tools that break down the barriers to problem solving. The program concluded with a special celebration to honor the induction of PLMA’s late President Brian Sharoff into the Private Label Hall of Fame, which is sponsored jointly by PLMA and Store Brands magazine.
For forty years, PLMA’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference has provided executives from manufacturing and retailing companies opportunities to come together with leading experts, colleagues, and industry peers to explore strategies that support the growth of store brands.
For information on future dates and registration for upcoming conferences, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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