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Allan Noddle.

Champion of private brands

Allan Noddle got his start in the retail industry back in 1965 with Hinky Dinky Supermarkets, a small chain that was based in Omaha, Neb. But he spent most of his subsequent career with Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores and Royal Ahold, which acquired Giant Food Stores in 1981 and made the company part of its Ahold USA operations.

In 1988, Noddle was named president and CEO of Ahold USA' Carlisle, Pa.-based Giant Food Stores division, and in 1997, he became CEO of Ahold USA Support Services. And 1998 found Noddle heading to the Netherlands to become the first American to serve on the corporate executive board for Royal Ahold.

In 2010, Noddle took on a role outside of retail, becoming interim president of Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon Worldwide -- which is focused on branding, sourcing and commercializing customized retail solutions with its partners, with an emphasis on private brands. Noddle was in the role for a brief seven months, but remains a Daymon board member, the company notes.

An advocate for strong private brands

Noddle's role with Daymon seems fitting, given his strong dedication to building strong private brands throughout his career with Ahold USA/Royal Ahold. And that dedication continues today, as Noddle travels to share his private brand knowledge with others.

"As competition in the industry has intensified over the decades, there is no doubt that differentiation and innovation and exclusivity are three important ingredients as to how one retailer is going to distinguish himself from another retailer," Noddle says. "And other than fresh, the only way to do that in the center store is through an effective, well-focused value-creation private brand program. So I go around the world teaching about private brand."

Deep understanding

Carla Cooper, former CEO of Daymon Worldwide and a current company board member, calls Noddle's induction into the Private Label Hall of Fame "well deserved." She notes he has a deep understanding that to thrive in the long-term, a private brand program needs the commitment and focus of top retailer executives, as well as alignment to corporate strategy.

"Allan has been a lifelong champion of private brands though his early and deep understanding of the relationship between national brands and private brands," she says. "There has traditionally been a synergistic relationship between the two that very few practitioners fully understood and took advantage of. Allan was one of those people."

As Cooper explains, Noddle is committed to communicating to others the "science and art of private branding." And many retailers, manufacturers, brokers and others have benefitted from this commitment.

"Indeed, Allan has used his understanding of retailing and private branding as one of the foundations for his public speaking talents," she says. "Put a microphone in his hand, turn on some bright lights, and Allan will come alive sharing his knowledge."

Noddle says he is happy to be recognized by his peers for his accomplishments.

"It just kind of solidifies my philosophy over the years -- that in order to improve the store experience and to not just survive, but to thrive in this industry, you can't do that without a highly effective private brand program," he says. "It's nice to be rewarded for things you thought about years ago that are now being considered as mainstream and innovative."

"Allan has been a lifelong champion of private brands through his early and deep understanding of the relationship between national brands and private brands."

-- Carla Cooper, former CEO of Daymon Worldwide and a current board member
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Publication:Progressive Grocer's Store Brands
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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