Recovery of Momentum for Winning Brands in U.S. Home Improvement Retail
Progress in key feature of Winning Brands business plan
One of the most important goals for the growth of Winning Brands’ 1000+ Stain Remover has been to obtain a national listing in one or both of America’s two national retail chains in the home improvement industry. 1000+™ Stain Remover, World’s Most Versatile Cleaning Solution™ was chosen for that mission because of its suitability as a universal clean-up solution for Pros and DIYers too. www.1000Plus.ca After several earlier delays, new progress is being made.
1000+ had been in two key U.S. market tests which were taking longer than the company wanted. One is a local test inside 3 Ohio Lowes stores and the other an online listing at www.HomeDepot.com . Either of these two different approaches (testing in retail or testing online) has traditionally been considered to be necessary milestones on the way to a national listing. Since both of these chains have approximately 2,000 stores coast-to-coast (1,750 & 2,200 respectively), having a presence in either one is significant for the success of a consumer product brand. These are the world’s two largest home improvement retailers. They see millions of consumers per week, each.
In the case of 1000+, consumer reaction to the product has been under evaluation by the retailers. Do consumers like 1000+? What feedback do the retailers receive? How do the two organizations rate Winning Brands as a company to do business with? Is sales turnover of 1000+ Stain Remover in these two platforms adequate to justify expanded presence and eventually a national listing? Such are the questions that the retailers have been assessing.
Of frustration to Winning Brands’ stakeholders has been that earlier indications were received from these test partners of likely advancement, but delays occurred several times for various reasons. Therefore, from the point of view of Winning Brands stakeholders, the impression emerged that these projects would never advance. The delays undermined the plausibility of 1000+ attaining a national brand stature, and by extension, undermined the prospects for Winning Brands ever reaching the highest level of consumer product success. Although it is widely known that Winning Brands products are good, the difficulty in breaking through to the national banner distribution, reaching consumers in some of the busiest big-box stores in America, had cast doubt on Winning Brands prospects in the eyes of many.
Winning Brands has now received formal confirmation that one of these banners is ready for the next level of engagement with the company, by putting the 1000+ Stain Remover into approximately of 200 of its stores in Q1 2015.
Winning Brands has exercised great caution in evaluating this development. Previous delays by retailers to take us to the next level, despite their stated intentions, have made us wary. This time, however, the granular level of detail in preparations indicates that the associated work is already occurring internally on the other side. Firstly, the decision results from a formal review conducted over the past several months. It has the necessary backing of all affected levels of authorized personnel. Collaborative selection of stores by both parties is now underway. This even includes the allocation of specific space within the planogram of the stores where the product will be placed. Specific logistics procedures are being agreed, and so on.
Winning Brands will provide further description of this development in its Q3 report and the subsequent 2014 Annual Report. It is anticipated that this new program should be in place at the time of the issuance of the 2014 Annual Report and will be commented on therein as a subsequent event.
Our operational ties to one or both of the largest home improvement retailers in the world is perhaps the most important leading indicator as to whether Winning Brands can move up and attain unquestioned success in the U.S. That is why this new progress is so important. We are grateful to the team who helped bring the project into an implementation phase.
It is a fine thing to see and hear the good expectations that our retailer partners now have for our potential together. Our relationship with both of these banners’ Canadian stores, where their first listings of 1000+ Stain Remover occurred, has been positive.
While I continue to advise caution, and always will advise caution, it is encouraging to see that several earlier brand development initiatives are showing new life, including this very significant project. It increases the likelihood that Winning Brands will achieve the critical mass needed to become profitable and to address its (many) opportunities effectively.