Polish private label market grows in crisis


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The value of the Polish private label market jumped by 29% in 2009, according to estimates presented in “Private label in Poland 2010”, a new report from PMR. The high rate of market growth was a consequence of buoyant sales at hypermarkets and discount stores, which surged by 34% and 31%, respectively.

The robust growth in the value of the Polish private label market in 2009 was no doubt helped by the economic downturn, which forced cash-strapped Polish consumers to look for bargains. “With price remaining the key determining factor, private label products – typically more attractive pricewise compared with their branded counterparts – fit in well with this need for more rational spending”, Patrycja Nalepa, Senior Retail Analyst at PMR, says.

In response, retailers are expanding their private-label offerings by introducing new labels, new products and new categories. They are also optimising product ranges by withdrawing slow-moving items and replacing them with new ones. Furthermore, new retailers are joining the private label bandwagon, most recently Piotr i Pawel or Zabka.

“More and more retailers are now able to offer their customers private label products at two or more price and quality points. Private labels in Poland are no longer synonymous with the cheapest items in simple packaging. More and more products are positioned in the middle price segment, providing a price-competitive alternative to branded products while offering comparable quality. In most cases such “value-for-money” items are 20-40% cheaper than their branded counterparts”, Patrycja Nalepa explains.

Retail chains which have expanded their private-label ranges during the past year include Tesco, Real, Auchan and Intermarche. According to PMR estimates, Tesco was the main engine of private label sales in Poland’s hypermarket sector in 2009. The UK retailer launched 50 new labels covering 1,000 products sold at discount prices last year. The new offering, introduced in response to greater demand for low-priced items during the economic downturn, is designed to enable Tesco to compete more effectively with discounters, particularly Biedronka.

Two other major contributors to the segment growth in 2009 were Real and Auchan, which last year focused mainly on developing their corporate private label brands launched in 2008, i.e. Real Quality and Auchan. Kaufland, which derives a bigger share of its revenues from private labels than any other hypermarket chain in Poland, enjoyed a strong increase in sales in 2009, also helping drive the overall market result.

The strong growth in private label sales in Poland is also being fuelled by a fast-expanding network of discount stores, where private label products account for over 60% of aggregate sales, more than in any other store format. In 2009 a total of 230 new discount stores were opened in the country, up from 178 in 2008. At the forefront of this expansion is Biedronka, which is adding 100-150 new stores a year. But quite apart from new store-openings, sales growth in this segment is also a result of rising popularity of the format itself, which translates into higher customer traffic at existing stores. Also, discount retailers, with their reputation for low prices, have benefited from the economic downturn, which forced more consumers to seek ways to save money. “We forecast that the Polish private label market will continue to expand dynamically in 2010 and beyond. Fuelling this expansion will be continued by development of private label ranges across all modern retail formats, as well as by wholesalers supplying traditional retail outlets. Other important growth-supporting factors will be further expansion of discount stores and rising share of modern store formats in total retail sales. Furthermore, as more private label products are positioned above the economic price segment, and as their quality improves and packaging becomes more attractive, their image in the eyes of consumers is being steadily enhanced, inspiring greater confidence. Moreover, a certain number of consumers, who were forced to turn to private label products by the pressures of the economic downturn and became convinced of their good price-to-quality ratio, will continue to buy them even after their financial situation improves, perceiving such products as a viable alternative to their branded counterparts”, Patrycja Nalepa explains.

More information about the Polish private label market can be found in “Private label in Poland 2010. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2010-2012”, published by PMR in October 2010.

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PMR Publications | Central European Market
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PMR www.pmrcorporate.com is a British-American company providing market information, advice and services to international businesses interested in Central and Eastern European countries as well as other emerging markets. PMR’s key areas of operation include business publications (through PMR Publications), consultancy (through PMR Consulting) and market research (through PMR Research). Being present on the market since 1995, employing highly skilled staff, offering high international standards in projects and publications, providing one of most frequently visited and top-ranked websites, PMR is one of the largest companies of its type in the region.

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