05-frontWelcome to the October Grocery Trader. The big question of the day must be: when will this recession end? After a difficult 18 months’ trading M&S Chairman Sir Stuart Rose is reported among those expecting a tough 2010. Meanwhile there’s brighter news from the GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index, up nine points last month to -16, its best since January 2008.

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The GfK NOP Index suggests consumers are getting back their confidence in the prospects for both their personal finances and the general economy for the next 12 months. The two measures each show plus scores, after being in the red well over a year. The Index is still negative, as Nick Moon, MD of GfK NOP Social Research points out, so we shouldn’t get too carried away. Even so the latest figure is the best since January 2008.

Britain’s brightest businesses certainly haven’t lost confidence in their ability to succeed. In this issue we profile Eagle Eye Technology and interview Delamere Dairy, two innovative companies continuing to do well by identifying and meeting specific areas of consumer demand.

Delamere Dairy’s founders Roger and Liz Sutton started their first herd with just three goats. Almost 25 years later nearly all major UK supermarkets stock Delamere Dairy products, and demand is so huge that family goat farmers across Britain are supplying milk.

Since 2002 Eagle Eye Technology has been enabling retailers to engage with consumers through their mobiles. In 2007 they entered the interactive technology space, providing solutions for in store kiosks. Eagle Eye Technology recently created Global Kiosk, the state of the art digital content kiosk solution, initially developed for a leading Saudi Arabian retail chain, allowing customers to browse, purchase and download legal digital albums and singles, music videos and movies to portable media players or memory devices.

October and November are ‘dark’ months with later sunrises and nights drawing in, but the good news is they also contain Halloween (31 October) and Bonfire Night (5 November), two welcome excuses for a party. As we explore in our Big Night In feature, Brits are still determined to have fun in these bleak times and enjoy a ‘Big Night In’ with friends, though the figures show they’re trimming their spending to an extent.

Explored in our other feature, the science of merchandising and display has been evolving since the first supermarkets opened here in the 1950s. Today successful merchandising and display for multiple grocers still comes down to using suppliers’ products and leveraging the brands’ marketing to maximise your fixtures’ appeal and your sales.
Have a successful month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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