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Weekly Round-Up… 11 September, 2018

Published on Sep 11 2018 10:30 AM

Weekly Round-Up… 11 September, 2018

Supermarket sales of organic food and drink in the UK have risen by 4% this year, new figures reveal, marking seven consecutive years of growth. Despite an exceptionally cold winter and a hot, dry summer which have played havoc with crops, organic fresh produce and dairy sales remain the main drivers fuelling the growth of the overall market, now worth a record £2.2 billion.

Ready-meals giant Bakkavor on Thursday revealed sales growth but sounded caution over cost pressures it is grappling with. The FTSE-250 firm, a supplier to supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer, warned that ingredients costs, particularly for dairy, have continued to rise, and faster than anticipated. It added that wage bills have also increased.

The chief executive of Unilever Paul Polman on Thursday defended the Dutch government's plan to scrap a withholding tax on dividends as good for the Netherlands' economy, despite its unpopularity domestically. In an interview with national broadcaster NOS, Polman said the tax was a "double tax" that was driving some companies to move elsewhere. "The global tendency is that dividend taxes are going down," he told NOS.

British convenience retailer McColl's Retail Group Plc posted on Tuesday lower like-for-like sales in the third quarter and said the collapse of cigarette wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H) last year continued to disrupt its supply chain. Like-for-like sales fell 0.9 %for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 26 at McColl's, which trades from about 1,600 convenience stores and newsagents in Britain. Total revenue rose 0.6 percent in the quarter.

Carrefour, Europe's largest retailer, said that the head of yoghurt maker Danone will sit on a food advisory committee the supermarket group is setting up as it seeks to boost sales of organic products. Carrefour said in January it would revamp its food range and focus more on organic food as customers demand healthier products, under a global five-year plan to increase group sales and profits.

Britain's economy is holding its solid pace of growth, according to a survey which showed the large services sector expanded more strongly than expected in August, but Brexit worries are hitting investment plans and confidence. The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) increased to 54.3 in August from 53.5 in July, beating all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and rising further above the 50-mark that indicates growth.

British packaging group DS Smith Plc said on Tuesday it sold more boxes in the first quarter at higher prices, helping it to recover from a rise in the cost of paper and pulp. The trading update from the FTSE-100 firm, which supplies corrugated cardboard, recycled paper and plastic packaging to firms including supplies to companies including Amazon.com Inc, gave no numbers on first quarter performance. But it said that its margins had improved and that it had also made "progress" on efforts to sell its plastics business, without giving further details.

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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