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Bridge, Focus, Attack, or Stimulate: Retail Category Management Strategies with a Store Brand


  • Rex Du
  • Eunkyu Lee
  • Richard Staelin


We investigate a monopolist retailer's category management strategy where the main strategic decisions are how to horizontally position a store brand relative to the incumbent national brands and how to price the store and national brands for retail category profit maximization. We analyze a market composed of two consumer segments with differing tastes and heterogeneity with respect to willingness to pay and a product category consisting of two competing national brands and one store brand. We find that contrary to the existing literature, it is not always optimal for a retailer to position its store brand against the leading national brand; instead there are many situations where it is best to position the store brand close to the weaker national brand or to position it in the “middle” so it appeals to both national brands' target segments. In the process we identify four distinct category management strategies that a retailer can use with a store brand. In three of these the optimal store brand price is the brand's monopoly price, while in the remaining one strategy the price is lower. We also suggest an easy to implement means for a retailer to determine which strategy is best to use, depending on the particular competitive environment present before the introduction of the store brand and the relative quality of the store brand. We find that the store brand entry is most beneficial to the retailer when the national brands are moderately differentiated. Finally we show that introducing a store brand not only allows the retailer to garner a higher share of the channel profits through higher retail margins, but also often provides the retailer the benefit of increases in national brand unit sales as well as incremental sales from the store brand. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Rex Du & Eunkyu Lee & Richard Staelin, 2005. "Bridge, Focus, Attack, or Stimulate: Retail Category Management Strategies with a Store Brand," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 393-418, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:qmktec:v:3:y:2005:i:4:p:393-418
    DOI: 10.1007/s11129-005-2779-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Arcan Nalca, & Tamer Boyaci, & Saibal Ray, 2017. "Brand positioning and consumer taste information," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-17-01_R1, ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 04 Dec 2017.
    2. Szymanowski, M.G., 2009. "Consumption-based learning about brand quality : Essays on how private labels share and borrow reputation," Other publications TiSEM b12825d8-5e21-4437-adda-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Mai, Dung T. & Liu, Tieming & Morris, Michael D.S. & Sun, Shuzhen, 2017. "Quality coordination with extended warranty for store-brand products," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 256(2), pages 524-532.
    4. Michel Wedel & Jie Zhang & Fred Feinberg, 2015. "Implementing Retail Category Management: a Model-Based Approach to Setting Optimal Markups," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 2(2), pages 165-176, June.
    5. Ataman, B.M., 2007. "Managing brands," Other publications TiSEM 462dcbba-2ac1-46d1-a61c-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Choi, Sungchul & Fredj, Karima, 2013. "Price competition and store competition: Store brands vs. national brand," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 225(1), pages 166-178.
    7. Banu Külter Demirgüne? & Bülent Özsaçmac?, 2016. "EXPLORING THE EFFECT OF CONSUMERS? FOOD-RELATED DECISION MAKING STYLES ON NATIONAL BRAND vs. STORE BRAND CHOICE," Proceedings of Business and Management Conferences 4406888, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    8. Arcan Nalca, & Tamer Boyaci, & Saibal Ray, 2017. "Consumer taste uncertainty in the context of store brand and national brand competition," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-17-01, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    9. Raphael Thomadsen, 2007. "Product Positioning and Competition: The Role of Location in the Fast Food Industry," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 792-804, 11-12.
    10. Banu Kulter Demirgunes & Bulent Ozsacmaci, 2017. "Exploring the Effect of Consumers¡¯ Food-Related Decision Making Styles on National Brand vs. Store Brand Choice," International Journal of Marketing Studies, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(1), pages 46-64, February.


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