Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Missing your favorite method product that you once purchased from Target? Wondering why it just suddenly disappeared/got clearanced/went away? How about this REALLY interesting article from CNN about how products are literally being dumped from store shelves!

"Dumped! Brand names fight to stay in stores |
By Parija Kavilanz

Don't be shocked if you can't find your favorite salad dressing or mouthwash on your next trip to Wal-Mart.

Large retailers -- including Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world's biggest -- are wrestling with having too many types of brand-name products. At the same time, shoppers are buying less and looking for bargains.

So unless a particular brand is a top seller in its category, it's getting knocked off the shelf -- and sometimes getting replaced by a cheaper store brand.

For example, Wal-Mart recently removed Glad and Hefty-branded storage bags from shelves, replacing them with its own lower-priced Great Value brand, according to the parent companies of both products.

In the case of Hefty, parent Pactiv Corp. (PTV) told CNNMoney.com that Wal-Mart reversed its decision, and will return its products to shelves this spring -- after Pactiv agreed to make the Great Value bags that will sell alongside the competing Hefty product.

"Hefty was off Wal-Mart's shelves, but we are being brought back," said Matt Gonring, spokesman for Pactiv Corp.

Bill Pecoriello, CEO of market research firm ConsumerEdge Research, expects Wal-Mart and other sellers will trim several name-brands across categories in coming months, or negotiate deals to get better pricing.

According to Pecoriello, those categories at greatest risk of losing brands are everyday-type purchases such as household products, toiletries and food staples.

These are also categories in which retailers have aggressively pushed their own house brands.

"If you consider the economics of this, if Wal-Mart can build customer loyalty for its own brand, which is also cheaper-priced and cheaper to stock than name-brands, then it will," he said.

Moves such as this are significant given Wal-Mart's heavyweight status in the retail industry.

"Any change that Wal-Mart makes with its product assortment has enormous implications for the entire industry," said Ali Dibadj, senior analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

Wal-Mart declined comment for this story.

Wal-Mart is not the only one doing this, according to Dibadj. He says leading drug store chains, including CVS and Walgreens, grocers such as Kroger (KR, Fortune 500), and Wal-Mart's rival discounter, Target (TGT, Fortune 500), are also looking to simplify their store shelves.

In good economic times, product variety is a must for retailers. But in down times, when shoppers aren't buying much, variety can be a burden.

"Wal-Mart's a little fed up," said Lora Cecera, retail expert and partner at strategy consulting firm Altimeter Group. "I think the feeling is that as these companies keep extending their [product] lines, it's only causing confusion for shoppers and not really driving them to buy more products."

As a consumer, she asked, "Do I really need to decide between 15 different types of toothpaste when I go to a store?"

Dawn Willoughby, vice president-general manager of Glad brand for the Clorox Co. (CLX, Fortune 500), agreed.

"On an industry level, we've been talking about simplifying product assortment for a long time," said Willoughby. "If you walk into a Wal-Mart or another large retail chain, there are so many products on shelves that it does make it harder to shop."

Let's make a deal
Besides cutting clutter, industry experts say Wal-Mart and other retailers are looking for more lucrative deals from suppliers on both prices and advertising.

In one recent example, according to published reports, Wal-Mart removed Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent from most of its stores. But the discounter brought back the product after Arm & Hammer boosted its advertising for the product at Wal-Mart.

Arm & Hammer parent Church & Dwight (CHD) did not return calls for comment. Other consumer product makers -- including Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble -- either declined comment or did not return calls.

Said Dibadj, "Perhaps one consideration in which product to cut is based on which company gives [Wal-Mart] the best deal."

Citing the Hefty example, he said "these threats can become quite aggressive, such as delisting and subsequent relisting after a compromise.

Altimeter Group's Cecera believes consumers stand to win from the retailers' moves.

"In this recession, consumers have certainly become less discriminating with what they buy," said Cecera. "Consumers have rushed to value prices, and they are buying generic brands."

She said retailers' own brands have grown their market share by between 2% to 6%.

This newfound affection for store brands is "sticking," said Dibadj. He cites his firm's recent survey finding that 77% of consumers who traded down to less expensive private label products are happy with their decision."


Be sure to head on over and read the comments people are leaving. Lots of food for thought!

So what do you think? You know what's crazy is, the more obsessed I've become with method products, the more I've learned about retail practices (I had no idea until a few years ago that brands had to buy and fight for space on shelves!? That's just, well, insane to me! No joke, I don't know how many times I'll walk down the floor cleaning aisle and stand in AWE I tell you, in awe at the fact that Swiffer LITERALLY owns that aisle. The. Entire. Freakin'. aisle. I mean, there are so many Swiffers and Swiffer cloths on those shelves you'd die if they fell on you. You'd die of light as a feather Swiffer cloths falling upon your body because there are so many frickin' packages of them on the shelves! "Man Crushed By Swiffer Cloths! News at eleven!" AND yet, they can't make a tiny teeny little bittle bit of room to fit three method oMops on that shelf. Nope. Nada. None. (Cause three was all they ever carried at a time, anyway.) I mean, WHAT the crap is up with that? Seriously.) It's cause Swiffer has bought up all the shelf space and the oMop went bye bye. (And the oMop is just a tad more expensive then the Swiffer, but I digress...)

Many of us have noticed Target's purging of method products (among many items and brands) from their stores as of late, and the apparently lack of finding said products. I think personally, it's sad when a retail store purges brand name products, so they can make their own cheap versions to sell. Up & Up anyone (Target's new generic brand) or... uh, nothing?

And did you notice how every product Walmart brought back in that article above, had a "you scratch our backs we'll MAYBE scratch yours" attached to it. That's just not right. Thoughts?

Lastly, I just HAD to share this from another blog! It cracked me up, is so totally true, and you'll notice what brand she ends the piece with (and I'm betting is starting to curse as she heads into Target for her latest aircare purchase.)

From Whrool:

"Dear Target
I have a bone to pick with you, Target. First off, I would like you to know that I am a very nice person who enjoys giving the benefit of the doubt. You are a very popular store. I get it.

However, why must it be so difficult for you to keep my meager list of needed items in stock? Will the glorious day ever arrive when I can cross off 100% of the items on my shopping list before exiting your store? For instance, WHY OH GOD WHY is it so hard for you to keep Dove Sensitive Skin Face Cloths on your shelves? You have 3,000 Dove Moisturizing Face Cloths and 14,000 Dove Deep Clean Face Cloths sitting right there in front of my face, mocking me. All I need is ONE BOX of Sensitive Skin Cloths. WHHYYYYYYY?

Funny story, Target. Do you realize that the primary reason I started using Dove Sensitive Skin Face Cloths was because you couldn’t keep the Oil of Olay Sensitive Face Cloths on the shelves? So, after much trial and tribulation, I finally found a new brand that didn’t make my skin weep and always seemed to be in stock? But NOW, the Dove ones are always sold out? Do you know how this makes me feel, Target? It makes me feel very shaky. Isn’t that a funny story, Target? Not so much funny ha-ha, but funny stab stab STAB.

Same with deodorant. (Why is it so difficult for me to spell deodorant without spell check? Am I the only one?) I have long been a user of Secret Powder Fresh or “Protecting Powder” deodorant (p.s. – Secret, please stop changing the names. You are confusing me.), yet it has been virtually impossible to find on your shelves. I have spent many, many cumulative hours searching though the sea of Secret deodorants: Vanilla, Rockstar Rose, Tutti-Frutti, Wild Jasmine, Cherry Mischief (seriously, WHO wants their armpits to smell like fucking fruit?), Truth or Pear, Sparkly Shit, WHATEVER. JUST GIVE ME MY OLD SCHOOL POWDER FRESH, PEEPS.

Yet, no dice. So, once again, I changed my personal preference to ensure an In Stock Status. Secret Unscented seemed to be the wise choice, considering there are usually 325 Unscented ones on your shelves at all times. Also, who knew that I would actually enjoy not making my armpits smell like a fabricated freshly-washed baby’s ass? It’s liberating, I tell you!

I bet you know where this is going, don’t you? Over the past couple of months, I can’t find a Secret Unscented to save my life.

Target, I’m beginning to think you are toying with me, knowing that I must visit you in order to buy all of my Method cleaning products. What’s a girl gotta do to get some health and beauty product love?




and what do you know, a comment from the article: "I feel the same way, but about the Method products we apparently so covet. Target has scaled back on the amount of products they stock. My favorite aroma pill, Pomegranate Tea, is now MIA. SO my backup of Vanilla Apple? POOF! Gone too! Target is SO on notice around here..."


Karin said...

and this is why i shop less at target now. maybe if enough people stop shopping there they'll get the message...or then again, maybe not.

on another, yet similar, note...i did stop by my local target after a long hiatus to see if they have the new method hand soaps, and of course they didn't have the scent i was really hoping to try out: cucumber + aloe. ugh. i don't like the coconut + honey...i hardly smelled the coconut in there. and the waterfall is ok...nothing spectacular.

Lisa Sharp said...

I haven't shopped at wal-mart in a few years. A few months ago I stop shopping at Target since they weren't carrying as many organic products. We now shop at two locally owned natural food stores. It's so nice to go to a store where the people care about you.

One of the stores carried natural sugar in the brand I like but not the organic, e-mailed them asked them if they could get the organic and by the next time I went there it was there. :)

You may pay a bit more but you get more too!

Karin said...

Re: Lisa

I was actually going to say something similar. I've noticed that Whole Foods almost carries as much method products as Target. I actually think it makes more sense for a store like Whole Foods to sell method vs. a Target or Wal-mart. The cool thing about my local Whole Foods is that they have a monthly free coupon booklet in store...and there is always a $1 off coupon for method products. I just wish Whole Foods would carry the whole method line...they don't have the hand soaps. :(

Lisa Sharp said...

We don't have a Whole Foods. One of the two local stores we shop in do carry Method though I mostly use Seventh Generation and Dr. Bronners to be honest haha.

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