Welcome to the October issue of The Grocery Trader. Mervyn King, outgoing Governor of the Bank of England says he expects growth to rise during the next quarter of the year. As autumn closes in, could this be the light of recovery? Meanwhile as our lead story confirms, the major UK’s grocery retailers are continuing to invest in strengthening their businesses ahead of the recovery, and UK-based suppliers are helping them do it effectively with smart solutions.

Asda is nearing completion of a two-year project to transform its retail distribution operation in conjunction with Paragon Software Systems. The retailer has been implementing a new regional distribution structure using Paragon TTS, a unique transport optimisation and execution system integrated with real-time vehicle tracking, to improve delivery services to its stores, make better use of driver resources, ensure route compliance and reduce operational costs.

Importantly, rather than developing its own system in house as would have been the case a few years ago, Asda has taken Paragon TTS, a standard solution for retail distribution operations that have large fleets, and configured it to their specific requirements.

In this month’s features we take a seasonal look at Winter Warmers, Halloween & Bonfire Night and Big Night In. As winter approaches, Winter Warmers become close to consumers’ hearts. Two categories that come into their own when the weather turns cold are OTC remedies and fresh soup. OTC remedies are headed by Reckitt Benckiser (RB), who have one of the largest OTC ranges of cold, flu, headache and sore throat remedies, including favoured brands such as Lemsip, Strepsils and Nurofen. The fresh soup market is led by the best selling New Covent Garden brand, who keep their range fresh by launching a new Soup of the Month, each and every month.

As October starts we’re now in the run in to Christmas and the party season – but before that there are opportunities every evening of the week for great Big Nights In with friends and family. Which means great opportunities for sales of food and drink and other treats for sharing.

As the nights get longer, it’s highly appropriate that darkness plays an important part in Halloween and Bonfire Night, two big celebrations in late October and early November, which offer a much-needed excuse to have a party. Halloween (Wednesday 31 October) is the UK’s third biggest calendar event in the UK after Christmas and Easter, enjoyed by all ages. So it’s vital that retailers can provide shoppers who want to celebrate the occasion with themed goods from trusted brands.

Have a successful month!

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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