Welcome to the April Grocery Trader. Traditionally April sees an upsurge in consumer spending, with the change of seasons. The lighter mornings, longer evenings and hopefully warmer weather bring a new energy. Consumers want to get on with cleaning, DIY, gardening and the rest, and generally get out and enjoy themselves after the winter. Convert this energy into desire to buy consumer products, and you should get a surge in shopping traffic and purchasing.
And then there’s the effect of the Easter fortnight, which is usually good news for retailers and suppliers. The school kids and college students are off, so as parents know all too well there’s much more shopping to do. And there’s the Easter break itself, four glorious days of shopping and consuming.
This year’s Easter fortnight falls on Sunday 5th to Saturday 8th April, some three weeks earlier than last year, when the weather was particularly miserable with Christmas conditions – snow! – on Easter Sunday. The Synovate Retail Traffic Index forecast predicts UK retail footfall this Easter fortnight 4.1% up on 2008, the second largest year-on-year Easter boost in 5 years, and in stark contrast to January/February.
We’ve got three features this month to help you turn the Easter and spring footfall into increased spending. In The Big Night In we take our second look of the year at Treats for sharing: food, drinks, snacks, sweets, chocolate and other seriously social goodies. In The Lite Stuff, find out about the latest food and drink products offering ‘Low/No’ options plus ‘free from’ alternatives helping avoid particular ingredients. In these tough conditions people still pamper themselves but choose products more carefully, balancing price against quality, and as a category Personal Care is no exception, as our Personal Care feature shows. With all this going on, you’ll need to keep your cool in your business with the help of our fourth feature, Fridges, Chillers and Air Conditioning.
Everyone in the grocery business is now waiting expectantly to see what emerges from the G20 conference, and the extent to which the trillion-dollar rescue package to rescue the global economy translates into economic recovery here and increased cash in our tills. Meanwhile it’s strange to think London ExCel hosted IFE09 in mid March, and a fortnight later Obama and the other world leaders and their minions were tramping around the same boulevards and halls we know and love. We’ll be looking back at IFE09 in our next issue.
Have a good month.
Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader