mock-up-magazine-web-290pixWelcome to the July Grocery Trader. It’s warm outside, but it’s about to get frosty. With the government promising a new age of austerity, it looks like we’ll all have to watch the pennies for years to come, looking for value and new ways to cut spending in the Coalition Crunch.

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How the multiple grocers address the challenges of Austerity Britain 2010 remains to be seen. One problem they will certainly have to address is cash and card fraud. Thankfully help is at hand from VISA Europe, Europe’s leading card payment provider and Volumatic, the UK’s leading manufacturer of intelligent cash handling equipment, both profiled in this issue.

We’ve also got features in this issue on Back To School, Ethnic Food and Drink and Snacking. As September approaches, ‘Back To School’ is very big business, taking in food and drink for the lunch box and clothing, footwear and home and school stationery. The key to ethnic food and drink achieving sales growth in the UK is crossover, broadening purchases beyond the original ethnic groups to mainstream Brit consumers. Finally, for generations we’ve cheered ourselves up with snacks when life’s got tough. The market’s stayed buoyant when things have been bleak elsewhere, because they’ve been relatively cheap. But can Snacking escape the Coalition Crunch?

In our first interview Stanley Skoglund, VISA Europe Senior Vice President, Payment System Risk, explains how VISA Europe is working to tackle payment fraud and providing new ways to help retailers and other stakeholders protect themselves and their customers from criminals’ attacks.

Data fraud’s consequences can be very costly: recent cases of retailers losing cardholder data to criminals have highlighted the importance of ensuring protection for customers, issuing banks and retailers. Loss of cardholder data can result in financial and reputation damage. As discussed in our feature VISA Europe’s latest innovations include guidelines to support retailers with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance, data field encryption and tokenisation solutions.

Cheques may be dwindling, but cash remains strong with £48.6bn of notes in circulation in February 2009, up 37% from 2005. If every till has an average error per day of £5, a retailer with 3,000 tills faces errors of £15,000 every 24 hours. As Volumatic’s Commercial Director, James Harris, says in our other interview, taking control of cash to deliver reduced shrinkage and greater process efficiencies can impact significantly on profits for surprisingly little investment. Volumatic have case studies showing our systems reducing the cost of money handling by 75%, by removing cash processing. They have also seen total elimination of cash errors, and 100% detection of forgeries.

Happy reading, have a successful month.
Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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