business news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in BrandWeek about how, while the current economic downturn is bad for a lot of people and companies, some are prospering – like those brands that provide people with things that they eat, drink, smoke or wash yourself with. At least, that’s the opinion expressed by Marc Babej, partner at the New York-based strategy firm called Reason.

Gary Stibel, CEO of New England Consulting Group, suggests that it is private label that is "positioned to move and grow … Kroger and CVS are two examples of brands that are doing a great job of promoting their own labels."

And, “production of snack foods, tortillas and confectionary products are expected to grow next year, per industry research firm IBISWorld, Los Angeles,” BrandWeek writes, continuing, “Then there's beer. It seems only logical that watching the Dow plummet into the abyss would drive some to drink. The U.S. beer industry is expected to post its second consecutive year of case sales gains, per the Beverage Information Group's 2008 Beer Handbook. Wine and spirits are also expected to continue to grow though consumers may be less likely to trade up as had been the trend.”
KC's View:
I think it is foolish at this moment to assume that any brand is “safe.” Categories may be safe, in the sense that people do have to eat. But that doesn’t mean that broader events, or the introduction of a new player (like a Walmart private label) can’t or won’t throw a category into turmoil.