President, Queen and volcano – don’t think twice, it’s alright

Welcome to the Grocery Trader’s June issue. Nearly half way through the year, and the last few weeks have been momentous by anyone’s standards. President Obama has been visiting the UK and Ireland, and the Queen’s been going to Ireland – historic stuff. In our industry, Morrison’s are bidding for Iceland, and as if to return the favour, the Grimsovtn volcano has been erupting and sending ash over to us. And in the midst of all this Bob Dylan has turned 70. In Bob’s prime he would have written a song linking the President, the Queen and the volcano, and snuck in a reference to Icelandic grocery stores, singing ‘Don’t think twice, it’s alright.’

Meanwhile retailing life carries on, and attention has to be paid to such crucial matters as cash handling. In our exclusive interview, we hear from Andy Crowson, MD of Cummins-Allison, how their dedication to innovation and excellence in currency handling solutions has led to the company being recognised as designing, engineering, manufacturing and servicing the fastest, most reliable and accurate solutions of this kind in the world.

In this issue we have three features we hope you’ll find interesting: Barbeques, Breakfast Time and Personal Care. The 2011 UK barbeque season is off to a flying start, thanks to the late Easter followed by the Royal Wedding bank holiday, and entertaining in the garden is set to soar to new heights between now and the autumn. Barbecues have serious ‘premium’ potential, and continue to offer canny retailers a major profit opportunity.

Your mum probably told you always have a good breakfast: and Mum knew best, with all the evidence showing she was right. Breakfast is widely considered to be our most important meal of the day: we literally do well to have it, as it’s been found to aid concentration and cognitive function. Despite popular assumptions that many consumers are missing out on breakfast, Mintel’s February 2010 Consumer Breakfast Eating Habits report shows that only a tenth of us skip breakfast, with two thirds of consumers eating breakfast at home every day.

In Personal Care, despite Government cuts, employment insecurity, financial worries and inflation, Mintel’s latest research finds UK consumers are still prepared to pay handsomely to look and feel good, with 33% happy spending more for quality fragrances and over one in five doing so on skincare (23%) and cosmetics (21%). Mintel reveals UK total spend on beauty has risen 8.5% from £15.4bn in 2009 to £16.8bn in 2010, above and beyond pre-recessionary levels.

Have a successful month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader