So that’s it for the summer then? the comment from the Grocery Trader

chazWelcome to the August Grocery Trader. You’re wondering where summer 2009 has gone: so are we! The forecasters promised barbecue weather all the way from May to October, and we believed them. The reality so far: a brief, glorious heat wave in June, then back to default setting, cloud and showers.

So, while we’re waiting for the sun, time to start looking forward to Christmas! As retailers gear up for the busiest three months of the year, our monster Warehouse & Logistics Update helps you prepare for the Christmas peak in the back of the store and the supply chain. We bring you the latest news on warehouse equipment, including pallets, warehouse trucks, materials handling, warehouse IT, scanners and RFID supply chain technology, security and warehouse safety.

Talking of safer warehouses, in our front page lead story Sumo Glove, the revolutionary fork tip impact reduction system, is enjoying a record year. Sumo Glove is to start trials with a major soft drinks company’s logistics operations, and recently presented a major British confectionery company with options for using Sumo Glove. Sumo Glove is also enjoying growing interest from logistics companies serving retail grocers.

Some things never change. August means retailers bringing out the Back to School stuff. You can feel sorry for the school kids seeing this stuff in local stores when their holidays have just started, but when they’re the marketers and retailers, they’ll do the same…

As our report says, mums buy food and drink for the lunchbox week in, week out, making this the biggest part of the Back To School market. That said, the supermarkets’ increased focus on non-food ranges for schoolkids continues to be extremely successful, encroaching on stationery retailers like WH Smith. Given the need for school kids and families at home to be fully up to date on IT, demand is growing for computer accessories like memory sticks, ink cartridges and paper, squeezing PC World and co.

August also means time to stock up for this autumn’s home baking season. Home baking might not sound very sexy, but it’s hot stuff. According to Mintel UK home baking grew 18% in real terms between 2003-7 to over £450m, with 7% further growth predicted last year. Grossly over-simplifying, ABC1s and pre- and post-kids couples are the biggest raw baking ingredients users, while baking mixes have more of a C2DE profile, but in the recession the demographics are shifting, with more people getting down to home baking. Which is good news for everyone in the market.

Have a good month, and stay dry!

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader