Welcome to the June issue of The Grocery Trader. The ‘double bubble’ of the Royal Wedding and the recent hot weather has sent UK grocery sales surging in the past few weeks, especially sparkling wine, cakes and baking products. It’s welcome news given worries about high streets collapsing, with M&S planning to close 100 stores by 2022, House of Fraser 30 and Debenhams 10.
In other headlines the Sainsbury/Morrisons merger is the latest manifestation of the industry consolidation in recent months. Tesco closing its online non-food business is further proof of the ‘Amazon Effect,’ with shoppers getting smarter about online shopping but also less loyal. And the Bunnings- Homebase collapse doesn’t reflect the death of DIY, but rather Aussie owners Wesfarmers dragging the business ‘down under’ by sacking the management team.
Meanwhile as our Summer Drinks feature confirms the UK drinks market is positively fizzing. Summer drinks generally serve one of two functions – celebrating and refreshing. The celebrating front got a massive boost from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptuals on Saturday 19 May, with sparkling wine sales enjoying a hefty hike thanks to the combination of the wedding and the beautiful weather. According to IRI figures sparkling wine sales in retail hit £20.7 m during the Wedding Week, 12.5% up over the previous seven days and up 36.6% on last year. The other side of the Summer Drinks coin, soft drinks and waters are reaping the benefits of our current quest for healthy living. Research from Mintel reveals 32% of Brits have reduced or limited their alcohol intake over the past 12 months and 51% of the nation’s beer, wine and cider drinkers are drinking less than a few years ago.
In our Breakfast feature NHS England suggest people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they eat less during the day, particularly high-calorie snacks. Meanwhile Mintel maintain breakfast is an almost universal occasion in the UK, with 55% of us eating it at home every day.
The Personal Care category is founded on its accessibility to most consumers, with popular branded and own label products offering very reasonable quality at low price points. As our feature points out, a pack of own label shower gel costs less than £1, branded shampoo and disposable razors under £5 and own label lipstick below £10. But that could all change, if the present plastic waste crisis triggers a plastic packaging tax that bumps up the price of personal care items sold in one-trip, non-refillable packs.
And finally, going back to this issue’s main feature, Summer Drinks, new research from the Prosecco trade body Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC reveals that more men in the UK buy Prosecco DOC than women and Prosecco consumers earn on average £45k annually. The UK is of course the largest export market for Prosecco and sales have doubled since 2009. Cheers!