Christmas is the biggest footfall driver of the year for convenience retailers, and a massive opportunity for wholesalers to boost sales and profits. Consumers are hard pressed at present, but retail sales are still holding up well. Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research at Mintel, thinks this trend will continue through the Christmas season and forecasts growth of between 1-2% in retail sales in December.

Earlier this year Mr Perks said the major retailers who have sought to re-establish trust in their pricing by cutting back on promotions and discounting have seen strong sales growth. It’s a trend which has spilt over into convenience retailing and is benefiting the wholesalers who supply them.

IRI, another research company says this pressure on retailers to be more transparent has seen trade promotions fall to their lowest levels for 10 years, with shoppers receiving £3.7 billion less in promotional savings than in 2016. It’s all good news for retailers and wholesalers looking to cash in on the festive feelgood factor this Christmas.

Of the specific categories, Christmas confectionery and speciality foods are two key areas for wholesalers at this time of year. Nestlé Confectionery is one supplier that traditionally helps retailers and wholesalers capitalise on their busiest period with a range featuring some of the UK’s best-selling confectionery brands.

Twistwrap remains the most important Christmas confectionery category, attracting over 14 million shoppers. Early season shoppers are the heaviest spenders, spending on average £8.95 versus £7.65 spent by later shoppers. Tubs are the biggest selling format accounting for 69% of twistwrap sales, with 19.4 million households buying into boxed chocolates.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional advent calendars and selection boxes. On the Christmas food front, whether your retail customers are looking for exotic goodies, home comforts, stocking-fillers, gifts for foodies, or just the festive family favourites, Empire Bespoke Foods can cater for all your Christmas needs with specialist food brands from around the world that have authenticity and provenance.

Among them, Italian panetonnes and German gingerbread are firm Christmas favourites and your independent retailer customers will have noticed them making steady progress into mainstream channels.

When it comes to making Christmas happen in cash ‘n’ carries, Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero believes in-depot displays are crucial across the different categories to grow sales and drive customer engagement around the seasonal opportunity. Retailers continue to look to their wholesalers for guidance on how to win during seasonal opportunities, so lead them to profits by prioritising core ranges supported by strong media investment, to inspire retailers to buy with confidence.

Levi also encourages wholesalers to create off-fixture displays and secondary siting with other categories frequently purchased. Shoppers are looking to trade up at Christmas so offer retailers a good display dedicated to larger pack sizes and premium brands, to encourage them to buy and stock up early to make the most of the whole season.

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