J.Crew Launches “LOOK by crewcuts,” a New Amazon Exclusive Children’s Clothing Brand

J.Crew, which started selling its J.Crew Mercantile brand of clothing on Amazon just last fall before then saying it would discontinue the brand, has just launched a new Amazon Exclusive brand of children’s clothing.

The new brand is called “LOOK by crewcuts,” with LOOK being an acronym for “League Of Outstanding Kids.” “Amazon partnered with crewcuts to create a fun, affordable, everyday collection that kids will love,” product pages say. We’re seeing 34 items live as of now, with all items priced under $30.

LOOK by crewcuts has been added to the TJI Amazon Brand Database.

Not only is J.Crew not abandoning Amazon like some thought it might when it announced changes to its plans for the J.Crew Mercantile brand in November, it’s now launching a new brand on Amazon. J.Crew Mercantile and other J.Crew merchandise is also still available for sale on J.Crew’s Amazon store as of now.

7 Amazon Exclusive Brands Added to TJI Amazon Brand Database

We’ve added 7 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” to the TJI Amazon Brand Database. The new brands we’re seeing are across electronics, jewelry, and apparel.

The new brands are:

  1. Aria Jewels – jewelry
  2. DSmart – smart watches
  3. Fancy Stitch – women’s sweaters and tops
  4. Fingertip Ballet – women’s shoes
  5. MI Falcon – athletic apparel
  6. Seabone – aquatic shoes
  7. Varsdodo – women’s swimwear

To track Amazon’s ongoing private label and exclusive brand efforts, Subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing.

Amazon Launches Belei, A New Private Label Skincare Brand, in the US

Amazon has just launched a brand new line of moisturizers, cleaners, and skin treatments called Belei, we are seeing. It’s Amazon’s first dedicated private label skincare brand in the US.

Twelve Belei brand products are now live on Amazon.com in the US, including moisturizers, eye cream, cleansing wipes, masks, and spot treatments. Belei’s brand messaging is focused on simplicity and transparent ingredients. No products contain sulfates, parabens, or phthalates, and product detail pages contain full ingredient lists.

The Belei brand items we are seeing include:

  • Belei Bio-Complex Moisturizer for Dry Skin
  • Belei Blemish Control Spot Treatment
  • Belei Charcoal Balancing Mask
  • Belei Dark Spot Solution Serum
  • Belei Ferulic Acid + Vitamins C and E Serum
  • Belei Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  • Belei Oil-Free Face Moisturizer
  • Belei Oil-Free Micellar Facial Cleansing Wipes
  • Belei Retinol Refining Moisturizer
  • Belei Triple-Peptide Eye Cream
  • Belei Vitamin C Moisturizer
  • Belei Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Amazon has previously sold beauty and personal care items under its Solimo private label brand, as well as other Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands,” but Belei is the first Amazon US private label brand we have seen dedicated to beauty.

In January, Amazon started selling private label cosmetics in Europe under its Find brand.

The launch of Belei is Amazon’s latest move in its effort to grow its private label portfolio and selection. It’s the 138th private label brand from Amazon that we are tracking. In addition, Amazon has been growing its assortment within many of its private label brand substantially over the last year.

Amazon is promoting Belei products with advertisements in its beauty section and “25% off” coupons.

Brands like Olay, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Clinique, and Neutrogena, and retailers that rely heavily on beauty like Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus will likely be taking note of how Amazon steers the Belei brand.

We’ll continue to track Amazon’s private label efforts here at TJI.

5 Amazon Exclusive Brands Added to TJI Amazon Brand Database

We’ve added 5 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” to the TJI Amazon Brand Database. The new brands we’re seeing are across grocery, household goods, and apparel.

The new brands are:

  1. Alpine Naturals – chocolates
  2. Eliza’s Organics – popcorn
  3. Daily Essence – sanitizers
  4. Hifive Carny – casual children’s clothing
  5. Simple Natured – hemp oils

To track Amazon’s ongoing private label and exclusive brand efforts, Subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing.

Amazon Ramping Up Hiring for Private Label Food & Beverage Development

Following our findings a few weeks ago that Amazon was launching private label milk, dairy, and coconut water products under its Happy Belly and Solimo brands, we are now seeing signals that Amazon is planning to further invest in and expand its private label food and beverage offerings in the form of new job posts focused on these roles.

Here are the recently posted positions we are seeing:

  • Senior Category Manager, Consumables Private Label – “The Category Manager’s primary responsibilities will include: Evaluating the online and offline assortment for the Food & Beverages categories and determining the right assortment for us to build based on market trends and customer needs analysis…”
  • Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Private Label – “Key responsibilities will include: Build out channel strategies that maximize discoverability and conversion for Food and Beverage Private Brand products…”
  • Sr. Product Manager (Grocery, Household & Personal Goods) – “The US Food and Beverage Private Label team is looking for a customer-obsessed Sr. Product Manager to help drive one of the most exciting categories at Amazon.com. In this role, you will lead the product development efforts for a set of Food and Beverage Private Label products…”
  • Senior Program Manager – Private Brands, Consumables – “They will bring experience and knowledge of food, pet food and food supplements and non food categories to the commercial team and help steer & support private label sourcing and ranging decisions… Drive food, non-food and pet food products specification – including defining category tiering, brand values and definition of requirements… Experience in daily-use, high-repeat purchase product categories such as Grocery, Impulse, Biscuits, Snacks, Nuts, Fruits, Canned Goods, Baby Food, Tea, Coffee and Beverages.”

On a related note, Amazon brand meal kits were spotted in a physical Whole Foods in the wild this week (pictures here).  Generally speaking, we believe Amazon is going to be investing heavily in private label meal kits — as we highlighted in January when we found that Amazon was hiring for leaders to build out a “new perishable food platform.”

Amazon has been growing its private label food & beverage offerings under a portfolio of brands, including Happy Belly, Solimo, AmazonFresh, and Wickedly Prime. In the case of Happy Belly, its assortment has grown from just a couple dozen items last fall to many dozen today.

Amazon now sells “Our Brand” items under 130+ private label brands and 400+ Amazon Exclusive brands. For more on Amazon’s private label efforts, subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing and check out the TJI Amazon Brand Database.

Bosch launches FYX, a new Amazon Exclusive tools brand

Bosch, the 130-year-old German industrial and consumer goods conglomerate, has launched a new Amazon Exclusive brand of tools called FYX, we believe.

As is usually the case with new Amazon Exclusive brands, neither Bosch nor Amazon have made an official announcement about the launch. We are seeing one item for sale on Amazon in the US under the FYX brand, which appears to be owned by Bosch, according to US trademark records.

Amazon labels the item — the FYX Ultimate Household Drill and Drive Mixed Set — as “Our Brand,” and the product page contains no reference to Bosch. Some reviews are dated from last fall, including some Vine reviews.

Bosch joins several other established brands, such as Tuft & Needle, Equal, and Carter’s, in launching a new brand specifically for Amazon’s retail channels. Given that Bosch has chosen not to publicly associate FYX with the parent company’s brand, it appears FYX could likely be an experiment for the company in figuring out how Amazon’s “Our Brands” world works.

Many Amazon Exclusive brands are owned by smaller firms hoping to build a new brand by taking advantage of the marketing benefits Amazon offers its exclusive brands. Amazon Exclusive brands “receive a suite of marketing support executed by our Amazon merchandising team. Products with high ratings and reviews can receive additional placements across Amazon.com,” Amazon says.

On the whole, Amazon continues to ramp up its private label and exclusive brand selection across retail categories.

Amazon’s New Head of Real Estate Joined from Discount Grocery Chain Save-A-Lot

In what could be another signal that Amazon is planning to develop a new chain of physical grocery stores, we have learned that Amazon recently hired a discount supermarket veteran as its new Head of Real Estate.

Patrick Waldron joined Amazon in September according to his LinkedIn profile, though Amazon has not officially announced his hiring that we have seen. Previously, Waldron was Vice President of Real Estate and Business Development at Save-A-Lot Food Stores, a discount grocery store chain with over 1,300 locations in the United States, primarily east of the Mississippi. Prior to Save-A-Lot, Waldron was Vice President of Real Estate at discount supermarket chain Lidl (US), where he worked for several years, moving to Save-A-Lot shortly after Lidl opened its first US stores. Today, Lidl operates about 65 stores in the US, also mainly in the eastern states (and thousands more in Europe).

Save-A-Lot stores are typically smaller format than major US supermarkets. While Save-A-Lot stores carry national brands, they also carry many of the company’s own private label products across a variety of categories. Save-A-Lot has also grown through a licensing model in which it acts effectively as a wholesaler to its local licensees. In 2016, the company was sold by Supervalu to current private equity owner Onex for $1.37 billion.

In addition to competing with traditional grocery stores, discount grocery chains in the US like Save-A-Lot are also increasingly competing with general merchandise dollar stores like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar. While these stores typically do not carry fresh food, they are increasingly allocating square footage to frozen food in addition to non-perishables — and are also often located in the same or nearby shopping centers.

“Smaller formats are driving retail success. It’s the perfect storm for retail and private label,” Waldron said in an interview with Chain Store Age last year (while still at Save-A-Lot). “The physical experience has to be convenient, which is why Lidl, Aldi, and Dollar General are doing well.”

Above: A Save-A-Lot store in Amherst, OH. Source: Save-A-Lot (undated), via Google Images.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Esther Fung and Heather Haddon reported that Amazon is planning to open “dozens of grocery stores in several major U.S. cities” that likely won’t compete with Whole Foods and may or may not incorporate the Amazon brand. Amazon’s hiring of Waldron could be seen as evidence that Amazon is interested in developing a new type of grocery store chain.

Those we spoke with in the grocery industry said they are generally expecting Amazon to proceed with a new type of chain distinct from its current physical retail grocery stores.

While Amazon has largely kept prices at Whole Foods in check since its acquisition a year and a half ago, the idea of adding a new brand of stores with more selection and lower prices would enable Amazon to eat into a larger share of the US grocery market, which has overall proven a tough nut to crack for Amazon over time. Whole Foods stores are generally located in higher-income areas, and Whole Foods’ standards prohibit it from carrying items that contain anything on its “Unacceptable Ingredients For Food” list.

Eliminating that restriction would allow a new brand of Amazon-owned grocery stores to carry a wider selection of products and brands. Of course, Amazon would still face the challenges of the traditional grocery market. Nevertheless, more grocery stores would also enable Amazon to expand its Prime Now footprint for fast delivery of fresh items, and expand its network of pickup locations. We would also expect such a chain to carry a high portion of Amazon “Our Brand” items.

Another potential angle here is pharmacy. Whole Foods stores don’t have pharmacies, but many of the larger grocery stores in America do. We believe Amazon is investing substantially in its online/mail-order pharmacy distribution infrastructure, and having a network of local pharmacies would both complement its online pharmacy and offer a network of local mini fulfillment centers for quick delivery.

Regardless, Amazon could potentially apply technology currently deployed in its Amazon Go stores to a new, larger format environment. Compared to traditional grocery stores, such a store could lead to higher customer satisfaction through automated checkout while also potentially delivering higher revenue per square foot for Amazon.

Between its Whole Foods Markets, Go, Books, 4-star, (for now) pop-ups, and more, we are tracking over 600 Amazon physical retail venues today. It is looking increasingly likely that that number will grow in the coming times.

10 Amazon Exclusive Brands Added to TJI Amazon Brand Database

We’ve added 10 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” to the TJI Amazon Brand Database. The new brands we’re seeing are across furniture, grocery, medical supplies, and more.

The new brands are:

  1. 2L Lifestyle – furniture
  2. Ball & Cast – furniture
  3. Condiment Dysfunction – sauces
  4. Fyx – tools
  5. Jackie’s Kitchen – spices
  6. Kewlify – dietary supplements
  7. Regency – chocolate truffles
  8. RespLabs Medical – medical equipment supplies
  9. Soxart – socks
  10. Summit Tools – tools

To track Amazon’s ongoing private label and exclusive brand efforts, Subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing.

Amazon Launches Private Label Toothbrushes

Continuing its expansion into private label personal care products, Amazon has quietly launched its first private label toothbrushes, we are seeing. The increased oral care selection builds on Amazon’s growing portfolio of private label health and beauty products.

The Solimo brand items we are seeing are:

In terms of competitive positioning, Amazon says the following on product description pages:

  • If you like Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrushes, we invite you to try Solimo Clean Plus Toothbrushes”
  • If you like Oral-B Pro-Health All-in-One Toothbrushes, we invite you to try Solimo Multi Pro Toothbrushes”
  • If you like Colgate 360 Toothbrushes, we invite you to try Solimo Orbit Toothbrushes”
  • If you like Crest 3D White Classic Vivid Teeth Whitestrips, we invite you to try Solimo Whitening Strips Kit”
  • “If you like Glide Oral-B Comfort Plus Floss, we invite you to try Solimo Extra Comfort Mint Dental Floss”

While Amazon has previously released other private label oral care products like mouthwashes, this is the first time we have seen Amazon launch private label toothbrushes, whitening strips, and dental floss.

Last month, Amazon also launched its 5-Blade “MotionSphere” Razor, as well as other health & personal care products under the Solimo brand.

In addition, Amazon has launched private label replacement heads for various brands of electric toothbrushes. The items we are seeing include:

Solimo is one of Amazon’s fastest growing private label brands, both in the US and around the world, with coverage across CPG categories.

Amazon now sells “Our Brand” items under 130+ private label brands and over 390+ Amazon Exclusive brands. For more on Amazon’s private label efforts, subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing and check out the TJI Amazon Brand Database.

Amazon Launches Due East Apparel, a New Private Label Activewear Brand

As it continues its private label expansion, Amazon has quietly launched a women’s activewear brand called Due East Apparel, we are seeing.

Currently Due East Apparel lists 8 items, ranging from sports bras to yoga pants, yoga shirts, and exercise shirts. Amazon’s product description reads: “Due East Apparel – Fashion meets Function, we had been trying to add more design elements on activewears while retaining their functions and our series will cover sports bras, shorts, tops, leggings and more. Due East Apparel: Being ‘Trend Conscious’.”

Due East is not Amazon’s first yoga gear label. Just last month, Amazon launched Truity, a new private label “professional yoga” brand, we found. Amazon has launched yoga pants and athletic apparel under a number of its other private label brands, including Core 10, Mint Lilac, 7Goals, and others.

We’ve added Due East Apparel to the TJI Amazon Brand Database. To track Amazon’s efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to the TJI Amazon Briefing.