Bridge, focus, attack, or stimulate: Retail category management strategies with a store brand

Rex Du, Eunkyu Lee, Richard Staelin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-418
Number of pages26
JournalQuantitative Marketing and Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Category management
  • Channel strategy
  • Game theory
  • Positioning
  • Retailing
  • Store brands
  • Strategic pricing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Marketing


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