It wasn’t too long ago that SKU rationalization became commonplace, as many retailers attempted a course correction toward more profitable sets — establishing performance metrics that possibly favored bigger brands and their store-brand equivalents over slower-moving and slower-building brands. In other words, niche products. But now retailers are acknowledging they may have cut too much, opening a pathway of opportunity for many suppliers, especially those of promising niche brands. And, as the industry juggles the impact of a weak economy, ongoing consolidation and SKU rationalization, there’s no doubt that the role of the broker, or sales and marketing consultant, is changing and growing increasingly vital to niche brands and even retailers. Click below to download the PDF of Top 500.