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Bubbles Top Drop for Kiwis Last Christmas

ACNielsen Reviews Supermarket Sales For Christmas 2001

Editor’s summary:

- Lindauer was the top selling supermarket item

- Supermarket sales up 6.5 percent overall to all time high

- Weather dampens sales of traditional summer favourites like ice cream and soft drinks

- Kiwi consumers prefer traditional shopping hours - and leaving it to the last minute

- Prices rose for staples like milk and butter

- Star growth category include atypical grocery items such as depilatories, cosmetics and torches

Auckland, 5 February 2002 - Christmas sales hit an all time high for supermarkets in 2001, although the weather dampened sales for traditional summer highfliers, according to ACNielsen New Zealand. Sales increased 6.5 percent on last year’s Christmas sales, up by $36.8 million.*

Lindauer was the number one selling item over Christmas. Overall, alcoholic beverages made up 10 of the top 25 ranking list. Quality Bakers Nature Fresh White Toast bread took second place, with the majority of other products in the top 25 from the chocolate confectionery, non-alcoholic beverages and cigarettes categories.

“This was a great Christmas for supermarket retailers,” says Richard Knight, Business Development Manager, ACNielsen New Zealand.

* 4 weeks to 30 December 2001 Vs 4 weeks one year ago

“The top 20 categories represented the majority of sales increases,” says Mr Knight. “These contributed nearly 55 percent of total supermarket scanned sales from over 330 supermarket categories measured by ACNielsen.

“The main contributor for increased sales came from beer and wine. Beer has now been available in supermarkets for two years, and despite some maturing in these categories, they continue to be the strongest performers.”

Other major contributors were fresh milk, cream, cheese, frozen meat and poultry, butter, margarine and petfood. With the exception of petfood, this performance has largely been driven by price increases.

Increased petfood sales were due to consumer demand for premium products, singles and smaller can sizes.

Rain dampens traditional summer categories

“Low sunshine hours and high rainfall had a real impact on the performance of the typical summer categories such as ice-cream and soft drinks which saw minimal growth this Christmas,” says Mr Knight. “They just didn’t take off like they did in 2000 when we had high temperatures over Christmas. The same two year trend occurred in Australia.”

Weather also influenced overall service station retail sales, which remained flat compared to the previous Christmas. Nearly 15 percent of retail service station sales are beverages, and the Christmas sales for carbonated beverages and new age beverages were down.

New Zealanders leave it to the last minute

Many supermarkets are open for extended hours with seven day trading and late nights, but kiwi consumers still prefer to shop during traditional shopping hours: weekdays and Saturdays between 9-5pm.

In the 2001 holiday season, Christmas fell on a Tuesday, and despite New Zealanders having the weekend to do their grocery shopping, ACNielsen’s HOMESCAN research shows that New Zealand household shoppers left their grocery shopping to the last minute on Monday, Christmas Eve. 28 percent of supermarket shopping was done in the last two days (Sunday and Monday) before Christmas and over 50 percent of this shopping was done between 11am and 2pm.

This compares with 29 percent of sales (on Wednesday and Thursday) occurred on the last two days before Christmas 2000, which is in turn down from 38 percent of sales in 1999, for the last two days before Christmas (on Thursday and Friday).

** ACNielsen HOMESCAN (Week ending 24 December 2001 Vs previous year)

2001 growth categories trends

Other categories showing marked sales increases offered innovation to consumers and movement towards supermarkets for the less “grocery typical’ items such as depilatories and hair removal products, cosmetics, hair colourants and torches.*** The percentage refers to percentage value growth compared with the same period in 2000.

Dry surface cleaning systems (121.5%) (ie “Grab it”)

Depilatories and accessories (67.2%)

Cosmetic products (34.5%)

Fabric refreshers (32.9%) (ie “Febreeze”)

Hair Colourants (31.6%)

Torches (28%)

Frozen meals (25%)

Eggs (25%)

Toothbrushes (24.9%)

Petcare & accessories (24%)

Household insecticides (19.8%)

Prepared dips (19.6%)

Toilet cleaners (17.8%)

ENDS

ACNielsen, a VNU company, is the world’s leading marketing information company. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the company provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behaviour. Clients rely on ACNielsen’s market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns.

For further information visit http://www.acnielsen.co.nz

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