business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that at the Goldman Sachs Global Retail Conference this week, Safeway CEO Steve Burd said that there is a glut of national brands, some of which may fall by the wayside as private brands have gained market share – putting pressure on national brands to lower prices, and on tertiary brands to simply prove their relevance.

"I do think that there probably are more national brands out there in various categories than there really needs to be," Burd said, adding, “If we can't provide a good consumer value with a national brand, than we'll push hard with our private label.”
KC's View:
One of the more interesting things that Burd said was, "As long as your volumes are trending up and positive, you're going to enjoy some very robust [same-store sales] when things return to normal.”

The question is, even if the recession is bottoming out, what “normal” means…and when it will return. Because double-digit unemployment could persist well into next year and even beyond, and so “normal” could have an entirely different look and feel.