August 2008 – All dressed up for rain

front-aug08.jpgWelcome to the August Grocery Trader. You can’t argue about the tough times out there – it’s time to dress for rain, and walk on through the storm. Singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’ is optional, but it might help… As we went to press, the news had just broken that UK retail sales fell 3.9% in June. That was after May’s sudden and unexpected 3.6% record surge due to the good weather. During June, both food and non-food sectors suffered their steepest monthly falls since records began, according to the Office for National Statistics. Retail sales fell in June as rising energy and food prices ate into shoppers’ purchasing power. But they’ve not gone away: the shoppers are still coming in day and night, and long may it last. Our fearless supermarkets, Co-ops and C-store chains are taking a positive attitude to the economic storms, rallying round and getting on with the job.

We’ve got a bumper issue to help you and your colleagues make the best of the profit opportunities still out there. As well as our regular sections, we have scheduled features on Home Baking and the first of this year’s Christmas products round-ups (not long now…) And with our Retail Solutions Show 2008 Review, we look back at the latest news in retail IT from this year’s Show.

We’ve also got a host of interviews with companies that are serious about making a go of things in the current climate. To highlight four of them, Alexir Packaging is the market leader in direct food contact packaging, made from renewable and sustainable resources. InterContinental Brands is one of Britain’s fastest growing drinks companies, which is experiencing a period of sustained success, due in no small part to the soaring success of its St Helier and Vodkat brands.

Supply chain IT specialist Micros Retail & Manufacturing was one of the stars of June 2008’s Retail Solutions show. It’s a little known fact that some 90% of all UK retailers use the same solution from Micros to ensure their product data is accurate, reliable and traceable throughout the supply chain.

A byword for lighters for over a century, Ronson International Ltd is now about to launch some exciting new Ronson branded lighters in support of its sales development strategy in the market, the latest chapter in its history of sustained innovation and ‘firsts’ in lighters and smokers’ requisites.

Happy reading. Have a good month, and may the sun continue to shine on you and your business!

Charles Smith