chazWelcome to The Grocery Trader’s August issue. Thanks to modern technology, you could well be reading this column on the beach on your mobile device, as you enjoy our digital edition. Have a good month, wherever you are!

The CBI’s latest survey shows retail sales growing at their fastest since April 2007, with the ‘Why worry? Let’s party’ mood kicked off by the World Cup continuing, and the warm weather further contributing to increased consumer spending. The retail sectors showing strongest growth are grocery, clothing, and footwear and leather. Better still, according to the CBI this growth is expected to go on in August. Heartwarming reading.

We’re used to CHIP and Pin verification. But are you familiar with the payment industry’s latest important acronym, PCI DSS? In case you’re still wondering, ‘PCI DSS’ stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, the new regulation requiring retailers to protect all cardholder information in their possession.

If you’re not up to speed with how this affects you, someone well placed to help is Neira Jones, Head of the Payment Security Team, Global Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, featured in our excusive interview. Neira and colleagues are actively providing key payment security advice to all merchants who trade over the phone or online, and are also developing further guidelines to provide greater detail on this and other related issues.

Also in this edition we’ve got features on Home Baking and Warehousing & Logistics. Other sectors have been hit hard by the credit crunch and ensuing recession, but as mentioned, grocery and other retail sectors have been turning in consistently strong performances. Going back to the CBI figures, these results certainly justify the major supermarkets’ commitment to continued investment in warehousing and logistics infrastructures over the last few years.

Home baking has been a major beneficiary from the continuing trend to healthy eating, which has encouraged growing numbers of consumers to look closely at what goes into their food and how it’s made, and inspired them to do more scratch cooking.

In good times as well as bad, there’s something deeply comforting about home baking. Home baking in 2010 is all about busy consumers taking time out to make consciously ‘real’ food for themselves and trying their hand at traditional cookery skills that in previous generations were handed down from mother to daughter. You don’t need to be an expert cook – these days, time-pressed cooks of both sexes can relish home baking with convenient ready-made ingredients such as pastry and icing.

Have a good month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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