In 1976 Carrefour introduced “produits libres” in France, and since then the generics concept has spread rapidly. Various ranges have been launched, and they predominantly constitute a third alternative to national brands and own labels, and are neither “unbranded” nor of the low quality often associated with their American counterparts. Critics have been all ready to predict the demise of generics, regarding them as a short term response to the recession and damaging to the retailer's quality image. This article questions these assertions by reference to an empirical study, the results of which are preceded by a review of recent developments within the UK.
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