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Showing posts with label JS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JS. Show all posts

Monday, 28 August 2017

Drawn & quartered

Every quarter the UK retail market share figures make stimulating reading...winners, loses... but what are you meant to do with it?

Last week's Kantar Worldpanel trumpeted the huge news: Lidl is now the number seven grocery retailer in the UK.

What I found just as interesting was what's not being more clearly called out: inflation & store numbers

Hurrah! Inflation is driving top-line. So it should. The problem is, if you are not tracking ahead of inflation, you are still declining - and the big 4 are struggling and will largely continue to do so.

Tesco showing like for like growth should surprise no one. They have been rationalising their store base, so those staying open will see a natural rise in traffic as shoppers go to their next nearest Tesco.

If the Booker deal doesn't proceed. What then? If it does, Tesco will find themselves focused on store and supply chain optimisation and there are real risks of loss of short-term focus on the core as management time deals with structural property issues

Asda are stymied. The have the wrong store footprint for 2017 and beyond. They know it - but it's hard to see what they can do about it. They have over 600 stores, but for how long? They will need to find bottom line efficiencies to compensate for real terms top-line stagnation

JS are also in a bind, their NISA bid looks decidedly less tasty after the Morrisons/McColls coup and is already and unsurprisingly rumoured to be on hold. They have to hope the Argos move really delivers.

So of the four, only Morrisons seem to have their act together at the moment, but even then the McColls deal is not a slam-dunk and will have to deliver value. It buys Morrisons time, maybe two or three years as the deal expands their effective store base

The real inflation-busting action is happening in Lidl and Aldi who together notched up total market share gain of 1.3% points. And they are achieving this off a still-developing store base and c. 2000 SKUs many of which are confined labels

These factors are the killers. The limited range has a very limited impact on the number of items per trip shoppers buy, but they have a massive impact on system efficiencies and price. And will continue so to do. The more stores they open, the more winning they will do.

So here's a thought, when you see the quarterly share data, take half and hour and think about your business and retail customer investment choices moving forwards and consider what insights might be drawn

  • Do the inflation check - who is winning, really
  • Make sure you are modelling each chains store numbers and development plans into your thinking - where will each chain be in 1, 3 and 5 years - and what share will they have?
  • If you aren't learning how to win with Aldi and Lidl, you are already losing
  • If you are a food business - make sure you have a credible out of home strategy
  • And I didn't even get to Amazon yet



Friday, 4 August 2017

Morrisons: The safer way than Safeway




Morrison's capturing the McColl's supply contract is audacious. The decision to execute using the Safeway brand is not unproblematic.
Why so?
The continued expansion of Aldi & Lidl across the UK; JS's moves to acquire NISA and Tesco's drawn out deal to bank Booker means the battle for proximity store dominance is fully engaged and price competitiveness is crucial.
It is likely that most Safeway SKUs created will have an existing Morrison's counterpart and will be produced on the same lines. But this means more complexity for the factories to manage, more packaging, higher inventories of finished stocks, interrupted runs, more waste and overall impaired economics. This is unhelpful to McColl's; it could be damaging to Morrisons. Running with the existing Morrison's portfolio conversely would bring efficiency benefits to both.
Remembering Safeway?
Safeway is an old aunt who died some time ago. She wasn't anyone's favourite aunt and if truth were told, she had developed a rather unusual and not necessarily pleasant aroma over her last few years. Safeway disappeared in 2004 having seen customers flee away and then savaging itself with a programme of deep branded price cuts that proved self destructive. I dare anyone to name a signature Safeway SKU that they fondly recall or whose absence has been missed. Anyone making the "residual fondness" claim is either trying to post-rationalise or is seriously misguided.
A blow to Sainsbury & Asda
Whether this is a first step to a full acquisition of McColl's by Morrisons will have to be seen but overnight Morrison's have secured a serious grip on the UK proximity retail market. The deal blows a huge hole in JS's plans to acquire NISA. The value in that idea seems dead in the water. And it exposes Asda to the challenge of why they didn't see this play and make a move: as their sales continue to dip, there is no obvious path forward.
More reasons to drive with Morrisons
One can see the headline attraction of using the Safeway brand. Words like uniqueness and point of difference come to mind. And certainly one can make the case that it carries greater residual heritage than NISA's Heritage label. A less emotional view might have stressed the shared economic benefits of leveraging the Morrisons brand across the McColl's estate. Safeway may be nicer than NISA; but Morrisons is the safer way.