News for Retailers

Anyone 4 Tea acquires Oatwell®

Anyone 4 Tea is now the distributor for the successful Oatwell® brand. Already in wide distribution, the move is designed to grow the brand into new outlets and increase investment with promotional support and education.

Martin Last, Anyone 4 Tea’s Managing Director says “We are really excited about this new development and Oatwell® is an excellent addition to the current portfolio. We are eager to now develop this brand further and to look at ways that we can increase the product offering that it provides. It clearly has huge potential.”

Oatwell® contains Oat Beta-glucan which has been proven to help reduce cholesterol with regular use and is supported by an EFSA opinion for Health Claims. There are two main products in the range – Oatwell® powder for general use, and Oatwell® Crispy Hearts cereal for daily breakfast use.

Modest gains for independents

More traditional independent shops were opened than were closed in 2016 in Britain’s top 500 town centres, according to figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) and the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA). In contrast, national chains continued to see a fall.

Independent shops saw a modest increase of 159 shops (+0.15%) in 2016, equating to a 36% increase from 2015 when 117 shops were added across GB. The greatest increases were seen in service retail, such as health & beauty salons, financial services, tattoo parlours and estate agents. The East Midlands saw the greatest rise in independent shops while Greater London, with its high rents, the biggest decline.

Chain retailers have remained in decline with a net loss of 896 shops in 2016 across the top 500 town centres, compared to a decline of 498 shops in 2015.

LDC Director Matthew Hopkinson said: “Independents are becoming ever more important to our High Streets. Year by year, the net gain of small businesses is accelerating, even as the net loss of chain stores increases.”

Huge UK growth in mobile shopping

The number of people making a purchase through a mobile platform in the UK increased by 39% in 2016, comprising 86% of UK digital shoppers.

Retail m-commerce sales will total £31.42 billion in 2017. Online stores understand the importance of mobile sites, with 76% of them now providing a mobile version of their site.

The figures are supplied by e-commerce provider Actinic in its tenth annual ‘e-merchant profile’, a study carried out between November and December 2016 with data from 2,100 European companies.

More than a quarter of digital sales are now conducted via smartphone, reaching 28% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

According to the survey, more than half of all e-merchants (54%) have seen more than 10% of their overall sales taking place through mobile channels, three times the number in 2015.

Office for National Statistics figures show that e-commerce accounted for 15.5% of total UK retail spending in March 2017.

Mobile is fast becoming the most popular mode of online purchasing in the UK, and according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, e-customers are making purchases increasingly easily via smartphone: “We can see a year-on-year increase of 47% in the number of sales made by mobile from 2015 to 2016, driven by a preference for the channel amongst 18 to 25-year-olds.”

How to sell to 'Gen Real'

We’ve known them as Generation Z, but having grown up in a post 9/11 world of threats and tragedies, they are now ‘Gen Real’ and they are very liberal-minded. Representing almost four in every ten consumers in the world’s largest markets, Gen Real are mature beyond their years and value realism and candour above all, according to Ed Silk, head of strategy at brand design agency Bulletproof.

Writing for foodmatterslive.com, he says: “They see themselves as individuals in the first instance and want to be treated as such, always keen to create and express their own take on things.

“As a result, brand narratives need to evolve to become simpler, more frank and honest. Products and services will have to morph to encompass the next level of personalisation that panders to the desire for individuality and recognition. Aesthetically, we will see this philosophy translate on pack and in retail spaces via gender-neutral design.”

Understanding Gen Real will be crucial for brands keen to drive engagement among a consumer group that is different from any other generation before it, he adds.

IAHS set to rebrand

Irish health stores are to get a new logo and rebranding this summer. Alan McGrath, Irish Association of Health Stores administrator, says: “After years of discussion and months of brainstorming and collaboration, we are pleased to have a final design agreed.

“The new logo will allow the Irish Association of Health Stores to seriously up the ante with regard to sector marketing, the promotion of independents and engagement with consumers at a national level to highlight the special offering that health food shops have to offer.”

The IAHS has been meeting with all affiliate trade partners over the last few weeks and is agreeing on sector marketing on a range of products and services.

“An agreed message to the general public about where the key differences in the independent health food trade lie within a crowded market is in the best interest of both distributers and retailers” adds Alan. “The smart distributors are engaging with the IAHS to formulate a joint approach to sector marketing, listening to the retail sector and taking cues from them to ensure that the core of the natural health food industry thrives.”

We do like Mondays

Stores with an online shop may want to take note that a lot has changed since the Boomtown Rats declared they don’t like Mondays. New research reveals that Monday is the most popular day for UK consumers to indulge in some online retail therapy.

The research from e-commerce data experts PCA Predict found that Mondays generated the biggest e-commerce web and mobile traffic from UK consumers, averaging more than 1.2m visits. That’s 16% of all web and mobile e-commerce traffic during the week in Britain.

The highest volume of traffic during Mondays is from 11am- 3pm, where on average, at least 80,000 consumers are browsing for bargains each hour, with 1pm being the most popular hour to shop on that day. It also peaks again at 8pm when more than 80,000 British consumers log on again to shop.

The research also confirms the obvious that consumers are most likely to visit bricks and mortar retailers during the weekends.

Emma’s social call

Emma Ratcliffe has joined the Social Media team at JFN Productions, publisher of Better Retailing.

A keen photographer and travel blogger, she will be working with Alex Higgs, Sian Anderson and Gareth Hannaford who work with suppliers and retailers to promote customer relations and higher sales.

She will help to create branded content with an emphasis on photography and video.

Contact: emma@jfnproductions.co.uk

Ireland’s 47 specialists

The Irish Association of Health Stores reports 47 stores completed its Protocol for Customer Care while nine candidates sat Diploma and Certificate Health Food Institute papers in three locations around the country. Administrator Alan McGrath says running an ‘academic year’ from May to May has created a stronger focus on training. The Protocol is a requirement for continued IAHS membership and helps set member stores apart from non sector-specific retailers, he adds.

Gluten-free up by a third

Consumer behaviour analyst Kantar Worldpanel noted the boom in free-from in its grocery market report this year. “Great demand for gluten- or dairy-free products, particularly from younger shoppers, has boosted the free-from category by 36% year-on-year,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, after Kantar’s grocery market report for the 12 weeks to the end of March “In fact, 54% of the population purchased a free-from product during the past three months – that's 3.3 million more people than last year.”

Source: Foodmatterslive.com and Speciality Food Magazine

Liverpool is top for fitness

Liverpool has been named the fittest city in the UK following new research into fitness levels across the country. A survey of 2,000 UK adults carried out by training and course provider Beabetteryou.com, found that 71% of scousers claimed to exercise at least once a week.

Manchester and London followed in second and third place with 66% and 65% of residents respectively hitting the gym at least once a week. Oxford was fourth with 62% and Leeds fifth with 59%.

As well as activity levels, the survey also quizzed respondents on their consciousness about what they eat.

While 77% of Liverpool residents claim to be careful when it comes to their diet, Manchester leads the way in nutrition as 85% of locals said they are careful about what they eat.

Read more news in the latest issue of Better Retailing

Read news stories from previous issues of Better Retailing here