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There were no big surprises in this year's Top Brand Market Basket survey. Wal-Mart lived up to its billing as the low-priced leader, Target reigned supreme in product presentation and Kmart was the hard-trying underdog that fell short in both areas. But a few things did stand out.
It seemed odd that, as hard as all three try to differentiate themselves, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target all package and present products in much the same way. Everything from Hershey's candy to Hanes underwear came in the same color and package size and were shelved and promoted in almost identical ways.
The only example of a retailer teaming up to do a special promotion with a vendor (at least in the products we sampled) was Kmart and its "Big Monday Night In" sweepstakes with Del Monte. The sweepstakes is promoted with a shelf placard under Del Monte canned vegetables and gives shoppers a …