Expo to highlight manufacturers of private labels

By Jillian Dauer

(Oct. 20) All secrets will be out of the box after the 24th annual Private Label Manufacturers Association Trade Show Nov. 16-18 in Chicago.

The Rosemont Convention Center will be filled with more than 4,000 attendees of “Store Brands Confidential.” Retailers, wholesalers, buyers and executives from supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, convenience stores, dollar stores and specialty retailers will be among the event’s visitors.

The exhibition floor will offer 2,200 booths from 1,500 companies showcasing food and beverage categories, health and beauty aids, over-the-counter drugs, household products and general merchandise, according to a news release from the New York-based association.

“The ultimate purpose of the trade show is educational,” said Brian Sharoff, the association’s president. “It provides information about products and merchandising to the industry.”

Sharoff estimates that 10% of the show’s attendees represent the produce industry.

This year the trade show is expanding its New Product Expo, which features items submitted by exhibitors that are new to the private-label industry, Sharoff said.

These products usually reflect value-added characteristics. This aspect of the show was created six years ago to draw attention to the importance of product innovation to the private-label business. Last year various wine items were put on display.

Mark Husson, first vice president at Merrill Lynch, New York, is the headliner for the annual PLMA Retail Trends Breakfast Nov. 18. With his background in retail, Husson will analyze the retail industry on Wall Street and will discuss what retail chains are doing and who is most likely to the most profitable.

The “High-Tech Supermarket of Tomorrow” seminar will take a look at the future of retailing. The session will focus on the store of the future, the Metro store in Germany that is moving toward high-touch customer interaction.

For example, the store is handing out scanners to customers. Any information they want about a product they can find by scanning it, and the answer will appear on a screen on the cart. The seminar also will take a look at the development of the multichannel retailer.

Speaker Ralph Jacobson, IBM Corp. executive marketing manager for the retail industry, also will touch on backroom efficiencies and radio frequency identification tags.

The annual Salute to Excellence Awards will be presented during the opening breakfast Nov. 17. Awards were first presented in 1986 at a gala dinner on Tuesday night, after the show had closed, Sharoff said.