Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s November issue. As the weather gets colder, whisper who dares: the latest ONS figures suggest UK retail sales might just be getting warmer. September retail spending was estimated up 3.2 per cent YOY. And as multiple retailers’ closures overall accelerate, PWC’s latest report shows discount stores and c-stores bucking the trend.

In this issue we look at the growing area of Healthy Living, and take our quarterly look at the Back of Store, a crucial part of every multiple grocery operation, which needs to stay fit and healthy all year round, whether we’re seeing the light of recovery, or keeping calm and carrying on in austerity.

As our Healthy Living feature points out, growing numbers of British consumers take healthy living very seriously all year round. And as another year nears its end, large numbers of others are considering doing something in January. It’s never too late in life for consumers to change their habits and by establishing a healthy lifestyle now, continue to reap the rewards in the future.

Interviewed for our feature, Sulá, Europe’s number one sugar-free confectionery maker has been producing premium-quality sugar-free products for over 40 years and supplies 70% of Europe’s sugar-free boiled sweets. Sugar-free sweets currently have a 4.5% share of total UK confectionery sales, very low compared to Spain for instance. Hence Sulá is now offering UK retailers the opportunity to make the most of the sugar-free opportunity in their stores with its latest range of products for the UK market.

The back of store areas in your stores and the DC’s serving your supply chain need to stay well equipped and maintained so you can stay ahead. The leading suppliers in equipment and solutions have established relationships with their customers over many years. As reported on our front page, Union Industries, maker of fast acting industrial doors, has been working with Premier Foods for 15 years and recently completed its 22nd installation at their Cambridgeshire facility. And industrial safety specialist Castell has celebrated 90 years of protecting people and assets with its electrical trapped key interlocking systems.

Also in our Back of Store feature we have a selection of stories on the latest equipment and solutions to help you get the best from this vital part of your business. Among them, Hörmann are reminding us about the importance of servicing your industrial doors before winter; Enersys are delivering plug-and-play power on demand for materials handling equipment with the new Hawker XFC batteries; and Crown have launched their latest pedestrian pallet trucks, giving high performance at lowest cost of ownership.

Have a good month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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