Industry body ECR UK is launching new surveys to monitor availability of Christmas lines and new products at the leading supermarkets.
The Christmas survey, organised by the industry body to boost efficiency in the supply chain, will see if the multiples have improved on last year’s dire performance, said Justin Cook, supply chain director at Kraft, and co-chair of ECR UK’s on-shelf availability workgroup.
In a similar poll last December, which monitored out-of-stocks on 45 seasonal lines, from mince pies to Champagne, average availability on shelf was just 90.3%, said Cook.
“Last year, beers, wines and spirits were the best at 95% while health and beauty were the worst at around 81%. None of the products had 100% availability.”
Research on new product introductions, beginning early next year, would also look at the impact of promotions on availability, said Cook’s co-chair, Sainsbury’s central retail operations director Diane Carter.
Preliminary studies suggested that availability was generally better when products were introduced as part of a category review, she said.Research in Scotland had revealed significant variations in consumer behaviour between categories.
“If people can’t find the brand or product they want in dairy, they usually buy something else. In frozen, they are far more likely to postpone the purchase. Size substitution isn’t common. If people can’t get the size they want, they don’t buy a larger or smaller pack, so manufacturers need to work with retailers to ensure stocks across every stock-keeping unit.”