OCTOBER DIGITAL EDITION – Any way the wind blows As John Lewis profits slide, is premium shopping history?

Welcome to the October issue of The Grocery Trader. We’re all set for an interesting autumn in Groceryland, particularly on the ‘retail blurring with wholesale’ front. While the CMA chews the cud over the Tesco/Booker deal, Booker have been getting on with business as usual, reporting second quarter like-for-like sales up 1.3 percent, helped by strong performances in catering and retail supply. Tobacco sales were perhaps inevitably down after the changing rules, but other categories were up an encouraging 6%.

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In the latest retail boardroom moves, the word is Sainsbury is looking for a new chairman to replace David Tyler. While one contender is said to be David Keens, former Next finance chief and a JS director since 2015, there are plenty of potential female candidates who could bring a fresh outlook. Among them are the everywoman ambassadors appointed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Worldpay everywoman in Retail Ambassador Programme, including Lauren Kisser, Director of Operations at Amazon Prime Air, voted Woman of the Year at the recent gathering.

In a striking piece of new research, IRI’s Price and Promotion study shows the pressure on UK retailers for transparent pricing has seen the lowest number of trade promotions for 10 years.

Shoppers are due to receive £3.7 billion less in promotional savings and 25% fewer items on offer in store since the OFT’s guidelines on promotions in 2012. The average number of grocery lines on promotion has declined 13%, resulting in an 18% fall in consumer savings via promotions compared to 2016.

If we’re really moving into a more hardnosed era as consumers, has the posh shopping premium bubble burst thanks to Amazon etcetera? As we went to press John Lewis Partnership profits, including from Waitrose, had fallen over half in the six months to end July following a slide in consumer spending.

There’s nothing like clothes shopping to raise the spirits, but these days we’re doing more of it on line. Mintel report Brits are set to spend £16.2 billion on online sales of clothing, fashion accessories and footwear. Sales of online fashion have soared, doubling in value since 2012 and in 2017 will increase year on year by 17.2%, confirming fashion’s place as the most popular category bought online.

The ongoing question is whether more online shopping means fewer shoppers on the road. In parallel, greener retail parks, based on environmentally friendly technology, are celebrated in this year’s Green Apple Environment Awards, linked to the European Business Awards for the Environment. A total of 23 Jones Lang Lasalle-managed sites, including shopping centres and retail parks, are due to receive awards. The full list will be announced in November.

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