Confectionery wholesaler finds retailers upbeat about 2013 and forecasting a good time ahead
FOOD and drink sales figures reported by the Scottish Retail Consortium have been up and down in recent times and the supermarket giants are talking about consumers demanding price cuts, but one wholesaler thinks the commercial outlook for retailers could be pretty sweet.
Specialist UK confectionery wholesaler, Hancocks Cash and Carry, which has opened a number of depots in Scotland in recent years, carried out a business opinion survey with a sample of its customers last month. And, it said, the results were very positive.
Independent businesses, including specialist sweet shops, convenience stores, general stores and event companies, were asked questions about their operations’ recent performance and their attitudes towards confectionery retailing.
Looking at last year, 78.7% said their sales of confectionery in 2013 had been the same or better than 2012. In fact, 43.3% said 2013 had definitely been better than 2012. For Hancocks it was an outcome that it sees as reflecting a recovering economy and the resilience of confectionery.
Looking ahead for 2014, 87.8% reckoned their confectionery sales will be the same or greater than in 2013 and 54.3% were confident their sales would grow in 2014.
The survey asked the retailers what had helped them achieve sales growth in 2013.
The most significant action (highlighted by 26.6%) had been to increase and develop their range of confectionery. Just over 5% said they had allocated additional space to confectionery. Other actions mentioned included changing the layout and display of the category and increasing the amount of advertising the business carried out.
78.7% said sales of confectionery in 2013 had been the same or better than in 2012
54.3% said they were confident confectionery sales would grow in 2014
75% said the trend towards retro confectionery was strong
Asked about key trends 75% agreed that the trend towards retro confectionery remained strong and they thought it was likely to continue and intensify.
Just under 49% said own-label confectionery is now very important to their business.
But while the retailers seemed upbeat about sweets they also identified concerns about the coming year. Many thought it would be difficult to grow customer numbers. And many also thought it is likely to be difficult to maintain realistic prices and margins in the light of fierce competition from supermarkets and discounters
Mark Watson, Hancocks CEO said: “This has proved to be a really interesting survey for us. It’s reassuring to see that the general attitude is upbeat, suggesting that the economic recovery has certainly reached confectionery retailers and that 2014 is looking promising.
“However there are plenty of challenges ahead.
“We value customer feedback and will be looking at a number of the comments and suggestions that we received in more detail”.