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    Bi-Lo Touts Success with Private Label

    Sales of Southern Home label were reportedly up five percent through the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year.

    Southeastern grocer Bi-Lo LLC has seen sales for its Southern Home private brand spike in recent months, the company said earlier this week in local press reports.

    Sales of about 2,000 items in Bi-Lo stores that carry the Southern Home label were up five percent through the first five months of the year, compared to the same period last year, according to Mike Mannion, director of sales planning and corporate brands at the Mauldin, S.C.-based chain. Mannion's comments were featured in several local press reports about the popularity of private brands during tough economic times.

    Mannion said Bi-Lo's recent success represents as big a boost in the private-label business as he's seen in more than three decades working in the supermarket industry.

    He cited the economy, as well as improvements in packaging and assortment, as key factors in the uptick.

    Mannion said Southern Home products now account for 16.5 percent of sales at Bi-Lo's 222 stores in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. About 1.5 percent of Bi-Lo's sales come from two other in-store brands produced by Topco, Clear Value and TopCare, while manufacturers' brands account for 82 percent of sales.

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