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Suppliers persevere against extreme weather conditions Thursday, 28th March 2013
Photo Credit: Co-operative Group
In a year which has seen bitterly cold weather and uncharacteristically high levels of snowfall, retailers and suppliers have been striving to ensure that British stores remain stocked with food.
Grocery retail news website The Grocer was informed of multiple stories of suppliers and retailers going to great measures to ensure that consumers did not find themselves without the products they needed.
The Grocer reported that suppliers of a Co-op in the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland used a council-chartered ferry to sail their products into a town which was completely cut off by snow drifts. Meanwhile, after ferry access to the Isle of Man was cut off, the Co-op Group used a Hercules military transport aircraft to ensure that the 10 stores it operated on the Isle of Man continued to be adequately supplied.
Sean Toal, Co-op Group’s chief operating officer, told the Grocer “The efforts of our colleagues in stores, and of those who ensure deliveries reach them to keep shelves stocked, have been fabulous, and is a great illustration of what is so special about The Co-operative”.
Smiths News, currently the UK’s leading distributor of newspapers and magazines, told the Grocer that “In some cases, our distribution centres carried out different runs to complete customer deliveries. We did manage to complete all of our distribution routes with only a couple to our most remote and inaccessible customers being unreachable”.
Ocado sales rise more than 14% year-on-year Thursday, 14th March 2013
Photo Credit: Ocado
Online grocery retailer Ocado has published its interim management statement for the 12 weeks leading to 24th February. The report shows that the company’s gross sales, average orders per week and average order size all increased.
Gross sales totalled £185.5 million, an increase of 14.4 per cent over the previous year, average orders per week increased 12 per cent to 130,995. Average order size rose by 2.2 per cent to £117.99.
The report attributes a number of operational and strategic highlights towards the company’s increased levels of success over the past year. Ocado opened its first non-food distribution centre in January this year and also introduced the Ocado Smart Pass, a combination of the company's already existing Delivery Pass and Saving Pass schemes.
The company’s chief executive, Tim Steiner, stated “We maintained the momentum in sales growth and new customer acquisition with which we entered the year. Further improvements to the proposition to customers that we are making this year should enchance our appeal to shoppers and allow us to continue this momentum”
He added, “We successfully opened CFC2 [Ocado’s new customer fulfilment centre in Warwickshire] last month on time and on budget, and this substantially increases our capacity to serve the growing demand from many more customers who like shopping online for their groceries”
Morrisons plans to sell food online before the end of 2013 Thursday, 14th March 2013
Photo Credit: Morrisons
Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced its intention to begin online retail and delivery of food before the end of 2013.
Morrisons is currently the fourth most powerful supermarket chain in the UK. All three of the supermarkets currently ranked above it (Sainsbury’s, Asda and the current leader Tesco) sell and deliver food through their respective websites. Morrisons has now stated that it is in discussions with the online grocery retailer Ocado about the possibility of a partnership.
The supermarket’s overall annual profits up to February 3rd decreased by £34 million from its total in 2011-12, while its market share fell from 12.4 per cent to 11.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, Britain’s supermarket chains are finding that ecommerce and convenience stores are increasing in popularity with every passing year, their market share currently rising by 20 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. Morrisons has opened several convenience stores and has already begun to sell items through online retail, although until now food has not been among the products delivered.
The supermarket’s chief executive, Dalton Philips, stated that “The sustained pressure on consumer spending was reflected in our like-for-like sales performance, which was not as good as it should have been. We have implemented a range of measures to address this. Today's announcement that we are launching an online food offer in 2014 is another important step”.
Ocado reports 11% increase in online sales Thursday, 14th February 2013
Photo Credit: Ocado.
The company’s total sales for last year equalled £716.2 million, an increase of just over 11% compared to the previous year's total of £642.8 million.
2012 was a year which saw a number of significant changes and upgrades at Ocado which contributed towards the company’s sales increase. Most notably, the process of shopping through the site was made much faster and more convenient by new personalisation options, while the ability to share shopping lists with friends through Facebook increased the company’s social media presence.
The company also greatly expanded its range of products last year by introducing 28,000 new items to its online store. In particular, the store introduced 8,000 new non-food items such as beauty products, and décor. The store opened a new distribution plant in January to process such items and intends to open another this month.
Ocado reported that it had around 355,000 active customers as of the end of last year.
Ocado’s yearly losses decrease by almost £2 million Friday, 8th February 2013
Online grocery retailer Ocado has reduced its losses this year from £2.4 million to around £600,000.
Although the company lost £600,000, it is still a far lower amount than was lost the previous year and this still be considered a step towards the company finally becoming profitable. The company’s sales rose to £716 million between December 2nd 2011 and the same date the following year.
Ocado has not succeeded in making an annual profit since it was founded thirteen years ago. However, with online retail becoming continuously more popular, this may soon change. Ocado's chief executive Tim Steiner is hopeful that the company will soon become profitable and Ocado, which currently has only one distribution centre located in Hertfordshire, even intends to open a second distribution centre in Warwickshire.
Steiner has stated that “We continued to achieve double digit sales growth during 2012 with increasing rates of sales and new customer momentum as we moved into 2013. In 2013, we will continue to improve the attractiveness of Ocado to customers and we shall substantially increase our capacity with the opening of our second fulfilment centre, creating over 1,000 jobs in the Midlands”.
Online food shopping to double in next five years Wednesday, 17th October 2012
Online food and grocery sales are expected to double by 2017, according to a new report from IGD.
The food and grocery experts found the online food and grocery market is set to be worth £11.1 billion by 2017, almost double its current value of £5.6 billion.
IGD research found nearly 44 per cent of respondents expected to use the internet to buy their groceries in the next five to 10 years, while 58 per cent of shoppers surveyed said technology helped to save them money. Some 46 per cent said they would shop online if more personalised promotions were emailed to them.
“Although online only currently represents 3.4% of the overall UK grocery market, it is the fastest growing sector – set to grow by a phenomenal 98% over the next five years,” Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive said in light of the results.
Looking to future trends focusing on m-commerce as well as e-commerce, Denney-Finch added: “Smartphone shopping is certainly popular with young shoppers, with six out of 10 (57%) of under-35s saying they are already doing it or keen to do so.”
“Food companies need to view their websites as digital assets that not only sell groceries, but also add to the shopping experience through initiatives such as product reviews and ratings, or live chat with members of staff.”
The news comes as Morrisons takes its first steps online with the soft launch of Morrisons Cellar, the supermarket’s first move into ecommerce ahead of full-scale role out.
Premier Foods appoints new boss to 'accelerate' division plans Wednesday, 3rd October 2012
Photo credit: Premier Foods
The UK’s largest food producer has announced former Uniq boss Geoff Eaton will take the reins as chief operating officer, as plans to divide the company are revealed.
According to a report by the Grocer, Premier Foods will split the company into the two divisions of grocery and bread in a bid to become “more focused and profitable”.
The Oxo and Mr Kipling owner will use its grocery arm to continue to build momentum behind its core branded portfolio, which represents 86 per cent of the new division’s sales.
The bread division will take “a more fundamental approach” to address some of the troubles Premier Foods’ Hovis brand is experiencing in the competitive bakery market.
Leading the way for these changes, Eaton will also become an executive director for Premier Foods, reporting to chief executive Michael Clarke.
“As we accelerate the next stage of our transformation, Geoff’s energy and experience will be critical in helping us unlock value in bread and build further momentum in our grocery division,” said Clarke.
Comfort and convenience lead the way for growth in grocery Monday, 24th September 2012
The UK consumer is spending more money on comfort and convenience, innovation and health foods, despite price hikes sending till receipts soaring.
A recent Snapshot Report from SymphonyIRI Group, an industry leader in FMCG market measurement, found consumers’ spending an increasing amount on groceries that offered convenience, innovation, new tastes and a health-focus.
Ready meals grew by almost 11 per cent in volume over the past year, leading to an extra £200 million spent on convenience products. Similarly, comfort food continued to prove popular with a nation caught in a double-dip recession, with traditional British meals such as Cottage Pie and Cumberland Sausages becoming some of the country’s top choices by value sales.
Aside from home comforts, the nation also seemed to adopt a taste for healthier food options, with the London 2012 Olympics cited for leading a 6 per cent rise in unflavoured mineral water sales and a 4 per cent rise in porridge sales, perceived to be a healthy, substantial breakfast.
However, it looks as if the grocery sector will have plenty to contend with in the coming months as sales continued to be driven solely by an increase in price. According to the Snapshot Report, despite an increase in value growth for two thirds of the categories analysed, half were driven up purely by price increases. In fact two thirds of the 300 categories measures showed an annual volume decline.
Tim Eales, Strategic Insight director at SymphonyIRI Group said, “Every day that price inflation remains above wage inflation means that somebody, somewhere, is worse off. This is causing packaged grocery to shrink slowly by volume. However, we are spending more money as we are forced to buy at higher prices. Despite this, opportunities still exist to cash in on changing tastes and the hunger for interesting new ideas.’
Carrefour sees strong growth in Latin America offset European struggles Thursday, 12th April 2012
The world’s second largest retailer by revenue saw a slight increase for the first quarter, largely in thanks to strong growth in its Latin American markets.
Carrefour on Thursday announced EUR 22.49 billion in sales from January to March, up 1.5 per cent from the same quarter a year before.
An 8.1 per cent increase in revenue for Latin America may be a saving grace for the retailer, although sales on the continent only make up 20 per cent of Carrefour’s total revenue.
Carrefour’s domestic French and European markets as a whole continued to struggle, with sales barely improving in the first quarter for France and revenue slipping 3.2 per cent for the rest of Europe.
China overtakes US as world’s largest grocery market Wednesday, 4th April 2012
China’s grocery sector has tripled in value between 2006 and 2015 to become the largest in the world.
According to a report released by British industry body IGD on Wednesday, the country overtook the US with a grocery sector worth £607 billion in 2011, and is now forecasted to reach nearly £1 trillion by 2015.
"This rapid expansion has been fuelled by three main factors: rapid economic growth, population and rising food inflation," said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch, as reported by Reuters.
Despite a slow-down in industrial output and inflation, China’s economy is still expected to grow between 8 and 9 per cent this year.