Should leading brand manufacturers supply private label brands to retailers: Calibrating the trade-offs

Sandra J. Milberg, Andres Cuneo, Catherine Langlois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The consolidation of retailers across markets has considerably altered the competitive dynamics between leading brand manufacturers and retailers. The era in which brand manufacturers dictate the game to compliant retailers is long gone. Nowadays, with more equal negotiation power retailers are no longer just channel partners but rather business partners with whom to build business-to-business relationships. This has become apparent especially since retailers have developed their own private label brands (PLB) and actively seek brand manufacturers to supply them. For brand manufacturers supplying PLB may bring potential benefits but may also harm profits. Thus, this research investigates conditions under which a leading brand manufacturer would be better or worse off in terms of profitability producing PLB for retailers. Using a game theoretic model, we calibrate the trade-offs between the shelf space devoted by the retailer to the manufacturer brand and the amount of profit required from supplying the PLB necessary to counteract cannibalization and to generate profits for the manufacturer, under different levels of uncertainty regarding the availability of alternative suppliers. Calibrating these trade-offs provides brand manufacturers clear guidelines for negotiations with retailers regarding shelf space allocation and wholesale prices to be profitable supplying PLB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Brand manufacturers
  • Game theory
  • Private label brands
  • Retail supply
  • Retailer and brand manufacturer relationships
  • Supplier uncertainty
  • Supply decisions


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