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Supermarkets are cutting ranges


Research from market intelligence specialist IRi has shown how different product categories are suffering from major supermarkets’ recent campaigns to cull their ranges. 

IRi has released data showing that the number of chilled food lines in supermarkets was down 2% year-on-year in the six months to July 2015. OTC and healthcare was down 3.6%, whilst the number of BWS (beers, wines, spirits) lines decreased by 2%. 

Martin Wood, Head of Strategic Insight for Retail at IRi UK, said “So far we’re seeing little evidence of major range-rationalisation across all multiples, though some categories have been hit hard. 

Certain retailers are cutting back more than others, but all are taking a considered, commercial approach to optimising assortments – looking category by category, and determining the effect of losing a line on value and volume sales. 

This is enabling them to get their product mix right, without damaging customer loyalty.” 

Other popular consumer brands scrapped by Tesco include Kingsmill, Ribena and Capri-sun. When the big four grocer recently announced the removal of Carlsberg products from shelves, a spokesperson assured that “colleagues in store will be on hand to offer assistance and suggest alternatives should customers find a product they used to buy is no longer available.” 

Tesco plans to reduce its number of products from 90,000 to something between 65,000 and 70,000 and Wood has cautioned that other businesses need to plan for the future. 

“Brands must look ahead and measure the likely impact of changes on their category,” he continued. 

“Even a small percentage change can equate to the de-listing of hundreds of SKUs: ambient food ranges have been reduce by a moderate 2.3%, but this equates to a loss of 120 lines.” 

IRi’s research is based on data from a wide range of retailers, including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. 

Published on Wednesday 14 October by Philip Gallagher

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