In Mark Tritton’s World, Don’t Call It Private Label

Bed Bath & Beyond, Tritton

Bed Bath & Beyond’s chief executive Mark Tritton has built a solid reputation when it comes to building successful private label programs.

But Tritton views this retail merchandising strategy as more than just an opportunity to make a few more dollars on each item sold. 

“I use the term owned brand, not private label,” Tritton said during a Fireside Chat at the International Housewares Association’s Spring Home + Housewares Connect event. “I’m not slapping a label on a product just to make extra margin. I want to build an idea and ideas are punctuated by great items.”

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Tritton’s reputation for building proprietary brands was cemented during his three-plus years at Target. While there, he was credited with turning around the Minneapolis-Minn.-based retailer’s private label strategy, leading the effort to launch more than 30 proprietary brands. 

In early March, Bed Bath & Beyond officially unveiled its Owned Brand strategy, something that was highly anticipated and will be closely watched as the program rolls out. A trio of brands including Nestwell, Haven and Simply Essential will be the first to launch.

“We had some good ideas previously (with owned brands), but our execution and ideology was not that of a 360° approach to meet the customers’ needs,” Tritton said. “Our goal now is to enhance the experience by building brands that differentiate us and can be found only at Bed Bath & Beyond.”

Nestwell was the first brand to launch as part of the retailer’s new branding effort. The line of bed and bath products includes sheets, pillows, blankets, quilts, comforters, duvets, mattress pads, bath rugs, bath towels and bath accessories.

Later this year, Tritton said the retailer will focus on the kitchen with the launch of its Simply Essential line. While offering few specifics about products in the collection, he said the new assortment will serve a dual purpose by meeting a consumer need while also filling a void in Bed Bath’s assortment.

“Our data shows that in the kitchen segment about 50% of business is done at the opening pricepoint (OPP) level,” he said. “But our OPP assortment was zero. If wanted to be an authority in the kitchen how could we claim this when we were sending people elsewhere to buy this type of product?”