Coles, Woolies pick up retail share at butchers’ expense

Jon Condon, 18/01/2014


BOTH Coles and Woolworths have lifted retail beef share across Australia, arresting a mini-recovery in market share held by independent butchers in the latest monthly survey conducted for the red meat industry by Nielsen Homescan.*

For the rolling quarter ended November 30, butchers held a 21.4 percent share of national retail beef sales, down 0.7pc on the previous survey.

The latest result continues a concerning longer-term share decline for butchers, now down 3.2pc in terms of national beef retail sales share compared with this time last year.

In contrast, both Woolworths and Coles logged increased share in the latest rolling quarterly result.

Woolworths lifted 0.2pc over the previous report to reach 32.6pc of retail beef sales, it’s best result since June, and its third highest share figure recorded in the past two years.

Coles also picked up 0.2pc share since October, lifting to 24.4pc of retail sales. The result arrests a mild four-month decline in market share, but Coles retains a comfortable share margin over third-placed independent butchers.

Coles has now notched up almost a year’s trading where its retail share has been above independent butchers, after previously filling third place in the retail rankings.

Further rounds of heavily promoted red meat price discounting by major supermarkets appear to have influenced retail trends in the latest reporting period.

Some smaller retailers also appear to have picked up share at independent butchers’ expense last month.

The independently-owned IGA group continues to perform strongly among smaller supermarkets, finishing the latest survey at 10.6pc share (up 0.3pc from the previous month). That’s another record high for the chain, and continues a solid improvement over the past 11 months which has seen is market share lift by 1.4pc since last January, when it sat at 9.2pc.

Another smaller retailer, Aldi, remains unchanged at 6.8 of share of retail beef sales in the latest monthly Nielsen survey, while the ‘other supermarkets’ rise a little to 4.2pc.

It should be noted that the Nielsen assessment is based on rolling quarterly figures, not single monthly registrations, because they are regarded by analysts as being a more accurate reflection of longer-term trends.


IGA campaign strong performer

As discussed last month, in percentage improvement terms, IGA is easily the best performer in the domestic retail beef space over the past year, backed by a comprehensive and cleverly positioned “That’s the way I like it,” campaign featuring comedian, Anh Do.

The ads highlight the ability of each IGA store to tailor items to suit each local community’s tastes and requirements – a function that bigger corporate chains often struggle with.

The launch of the campaign almost exactly overlays the start of IGA's beef retail share growth curve since July last year, picking up another 1.3pc of the overall retail beef markets sales against all competitors since.

The campaign features a music track by Australian Aria Winner, Ben Lee, using the lyrics "And that's the way I like it" which reflects IGA's positioning of 'How the locals like it’.

“Beef cheeks” is just one of the many examples of specific items proclaimed by ‘locals’ as being available in the IGA advertisements.


Overall fresh meat sales value up 

For the rolling quarter ended November 30, the overall retail fresh meat category (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, seafood) recorded a small increase in value of 0.1pc compared to the same period last year. This was driven by an increase in volume (+5.7pc), which was slightly larger than the drop in price (-5.3pc).

Beef’s value share of the overall meat protein market has decreased by 1.22 percentage points over the most recent quarter compared to the same period a year ago. This was driven by a 9.2pc decline in beef prices. The considerable increase in volumes of beef sold (+6.7pc) wasn’t enough to offset that price drop.

The value share of lamb has dropped slightly over the most recent quarter (-0.07pc), while seafood (+0.44pc), pork (+0.42pc) and chicken (+0.31pc) have experienced increases in their value share over the latest quarter compared to last year.

Almost all meats have experienced price drops during the latest quarter. Beef (-98c/kg) and lamb (-40c/kg) prices decreased the most, compared with last year. Seafood prices increased 41c/kg.

The decline in beef price is undoubtedly linked to the huge rise in kills seen in 2013, due to widespread drought, which is pressuring supply-side factors. Intensively-raised chicken and pork were much less exposed to drought, provided feedstuffs are not affected.

It’s important to note, however, that the prices reported by Nielsen are measured as the average $/kg value of the items in the surveyed consumer shopping baskets. It does not attempt to represent the overall average value of beef and other proteins being sold in the retail marketplace.

Under these terms, beef recorded an average price of $9.63/kg for the November 30 rolling quarter; chicken $8.25/kg; lamb $11.13c/kg; and pork $10.62/kg.


Retail fresh meat category share

In other information of value in the latest Nielsen survey, beef easily retained the highest meat protein category value share, responsible for 36.4pc of all meat protein sales, down 0.3pc from the previous month, but still a little better than this time a year ago.

Chicken filled second place on 26.7pc of category value share, almost 1pc better than this time last year; lamb was third with 13.8pc; and pork fourth with 10.4pc.




* What is Nielsen Homescan?

  • A consumer panel of 10,000 households
  • Demographically and geographically representative of all Australian households
  • Electronically record their household purchases of all grocery foods (fresh and packaged)

How are panel participants recruited?

  • Households are recruited on-line via a random sampling method
  • The Homescan panel is stratified by life stage, region and household size
  • Households are screened to assess suitability and to ensure they do not work in marketing, market research or FMCG.


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