Going private


OPI is collaborating with Retail Performance Solutions (RPS) to produce a report on the development and drivers of private label in the North American office products marketplace to help retailers and suppliers get ahead of the game.

The report, entitled Private Label Office Products – Threat and Opportunity, is due to be published at the end of March.


RPS principals, Tim O’Connor and Derek Blackburn, told OPI+: "This report will help both retailers and suppliers to understand what is going on in private label, get better and smarter at category management, and learn how to capitalise on the opportunities out there. We hope it will also help European and Asian suppliers that would like to be able to enter the US market."


OPI‘s CEO Steve Hilleard added: "I am very much looking forward to working with a company with the experience and reputation of RPS to produce this report on private label, a key driver to change in today’s office supplies sector. With more than 20 years of senior experience each in marketing, category management and corporate strategy, Tim and Derek are well-placed to speak with authority on the private label trends affecting the OP industry today."


The report aims to provide readers with the bigger picture by collating data on market size and trends; key drivers; retailer and distributor business models; and distribution channel portfolios. Crucially, it will also translate this information into implications for suppliers and retailers, and provide a structured approach for strategy development by drawing examples from other industries such as consumer packaged goods (CPG), where both O’Connor and Blackburn have many years’ experience.


O’Connor and Blackburn have worked as consultants on private label strategy with retailers and suppliers across a number of industries in the US and Europe. They have also produced a number of OP-specific key issue publications in collaboration with SHOPA, including the Private Label Juggernaut, which came out in early 2005.


"The CPG industry is years ahead of this industry in private label," they told OPI+, "but private label is growing much faster in office products. In fact, it is showing double-digit growth in an industry that is reporting only single-digit growth, so this research is very timely.


"The office products industry is even riper for private label than other industries such as CPG, because there are so many categories, but unlike other industries, there aren’t big brands with dominant share positions that customers are psychologically attached to. Private label at US office superstores, which is leading the trend in OP, should hit 25 per cent next year. There is nothing to stop private label from acquiring a lion’s share of this industry."


For more information on the report and to find out how to save $300/£188/€260 on your order, visit