Welcome to the August Grocery Trader. The arrival of George, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first baby, coincides with an ongoing baby boom. In November the Royal College of Midwives predicted 700,000 babies would be born just in England this year, the highest number since 1971. It’s great news for supermarkets, Co-ops and convenience store chains, as it means growing sales and profits from baby and childcare products. And increased demand for many other products too.
While baby gets all the attention, don’t forget mum! As our front page lead story points out, pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to low iron levels due to the increased demand of iron for the optimum growth and development of the baby. In the last six weeks of pregnancy the baby builds up its own storage of iron from its mother to last for the first 4-6 months following birth. Therefore iron demands can triple by the end of pregnancy, which is often difficult to meet from dietary sources alone. Childbirth can also further reduce iron levels. In this case a natural iron supplement may be beneficial, such as Spatone, which continues to be a key drivers of the UK iron supplements category growth and has built on last year’s impressive results, with a further 4% growth this year.
Coinciding with the Royal birth, that other famous George, Chancellor George Osborne, is saying the British economy is on the mend. After the summer’s final arrival, we could be seeing solid evidence of Britain’s economic recovery. First, the CBI survey pointed to a solid year-on-year rise in grocers’ sales volumes and non-store sales up sharply year-on-year, reflecting on-line shopping’s continued growth. And the latest ONS figures show our economy grew 0.6% in the three months to June, and GDP up 1.4% compared with the same quarter in 2012. The latest growth estimates suggest the economy has now recouped nearly half its 7.2% contraction during the 2008/09 recession.
As reported in our news pages, Chancellor Osborne recently visited Chippenham-based electronic controls manufacturer Danlers. In our Back of Store feature, Danlers are helping grocery warehouses and other industrial premises make significant energy savings and so become more competitive, thanks to their new IP66 rated Batten Mount passive infrared occupancy switch.
Also in the Back of Store feature, the green credentials of Asda’s new chilled and frozen distribution centre in Rochdale have been bolstered by an environmentally conscious cooling system from Star Refrigeration. Our other Back of Store news includes Linde and Crown’s latest lift truck innovations; pallet pooling specialist FHG IPP Logipal’s new range of reusable box solutions; and finally, as use of automation grows in food processors and grocery supply chains, Roy Fowler at Berkshire-based UPM Conveyors has seen a record final quarter following the Total Show, where enquiries for product handling systems and orders on the stand surpassed all expectations.
So, here’s to the new baby – and a bouncing British recovery!