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Changing Channels

Posted: February 20, 2007
Back to the February 2007 Issue

The retail environment has been shaken dramatically by a variety of developments, both local and global. In the mature retail environment of North America, the ripple effects are being felt by brands and retailers trying to balance consumers’ needs and wants with a changing global economy. As a result, alternate distribution channels are emerging, granting greater access to consumers.

Conversely, the traditional channels are altering through consolidation, even as retailers continue to blur the line between prestige and mass market.

“Retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart are creating more and more prestige-like methods and working to create private label brands with names. They also may be trying to buy directly from brands as opposed to finding alternative sources to buy from,” said Beth Ann Catalano, co-founder of twist.new.brand.venture.

Department stores are finding themselves in the position to create exclusive lines, limiting distribution to stand out from the crowd. At the same time, a unique distribution channel has emerged in Canada, where the drug store meets the prestige boutique.