Paul Hargreaves: Golden Quarter
So, we have seen a huge move to local shopping which has benefitted many retailers in the speciality food sector, and those supplying them, but now the big question is how this will translate into the “Golden Quarter”, the last three months of the year, traditionally the largest for food and drink retailers, by far. Well, I haven’t received the crystal ball I ordered on-line yet, but I have talked to several retailers. The general feeling is that they expect Christmas to be as busy as ever, despite nervousness about a second wave. Their reasons are as follows:
Consumers will not be going out as much as last year and large parties probably won’t be happening so more food and drink will be consumed at homes in smaller gatherings, and there are likely to be products of a higher quality. By Christmas we will be deep into the deepest recession we have ever experienced, but for food and drink retailers that is not a reason to be depressed. I have traded through two recessions in the last 21 years, and, whilst sales of larger items decrease in a downturn, luxury food and drink historically increase. Finally, there will be some families that won’t have gathered together for the whole year, so people will push the boat out with their food gift purchases running up to Christmas.
Another trend that has been very evident during the pandemic has been the move to on-line sales. Food and drink have traditionally been at 7% online as a percentage of the total. This is currently much higher, but experts expect it will settle down at 15-20%. There are quick easy ways for independent retailers to set up a web shop for local delivery, and many have done this during Covid. If you haven’t, please start work on it now if you want a better future, and this will significantly drive sales running up to Christmas. Even if just a click and collect service will make your Christmas lights shine much brighter.