Wawa Takes Private Label Route to Uniqueness
By George Anderson
Wawa is not interested in being your average convenience store. As the company’s CEO Howard Stoeckel told Knight-Ridder Newspapers, “We want to be unique.”
In its continuing quest for uniqueness, the 550-store chain has stepped up its private label offerings. Wawa currently sells 300 packaged goods products (not counting sandwiches)
and it intends to roll out an additional 100.
The latest Wawa branded items introduced in the retailer’s signature red and white label are 17 types of bagged candy, pudding, tea and yogurt.
Private label is an underdeveloped piece of business for most in the convenience store space. According to ACNielsen, the average convenience outlet generates only three percent
of its total sales from store brands.
Robert Price, chief marketing officer for Wawa, said the key to determining which products make sense for private label comes down to whether it will enhance the company’s brand
“There’s the emotional desire out of pride to just go ahead and do everything, but that’s not our intention,” he said. “Your brand is like a bank account. You can either borrow
from it or deposit into it.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is Wawa in a better position to develop a private label program than most convenience store
operators? Are the dynamics of private label and, therefore, the chance of success different in convenience stores than in other channels? –
George Anderson – Moderator