Consolidation, both Natural and Not

In an unlikely intermingling of channels/retailers over the past few months there were some strange developments between Wild Oats, Pathmark, A&P and Whole Foods. The quickest way I can break it down is like this:

- December 06: Pathmark announces it will start carrying Wild Oats private label brands in their stores
- March 07: A&P announces buy out of Pathmark
- March 07: Whole Foods to buy out Wild Oats
- March 07: Whole Foods states that it is unlikely that the Pathmark/Wild Oats private label partnership will continue

I only write about this because I found the entire thing very odd, yet captivating. As the world of retail is consolidating, the competition is tremendous. Traditional grocers are partnering to carry “natural private label” to expand their offering; smaller chains are expanding through acquisition to increase their weight in the marketplace; while others are simply eliminating the competition through buyouts. That’s a lot of activity in a short time in the retail world.
Unfortunately for me, the natural channel is not a very retail media friendly environment, so Whole Foods getting bigger isn’t really good news. As for A&P and Pathmark, last time I check neither popped really high on the radar as a top customer for any of my clients. But thought it was interesting none the less.


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