Over the March quarter, the net top two responses related to red meat sales performance from butchers participating in MLA’s butcher survey carried out by Millward Brown were steady to slightly weaker.
For beef, the top two responses for ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ sales was 10pc, steady on the December quarter, but slightly weaker compared with 11pc during the March quarter in 2013. When asked about lamb, butcher’s answers indicated slower sales compared with the same quarter last year, with 28pc reporting ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ sales performance compared with 36pc in 2013. Sales were also slower than the December quarter when 33pc of responses were in the net top two.
Trends in butcher sales performance continue to be influenced by supermarket competition in both the beef and lamb categories. According to Nielsen Homescan data, there was growth in total sales of beef and lamb at retail reported in the 12 months to February – up 3.2pc and 6.9pc, year-on-year, respectively.
The Nielsen Homescan data also indicates that for the 12 months to February 2014, the non-supermarket share of sales for beef stood at 20.4pc compared with 23.6pc the same time in 2013, in addition lamb shares stood at 20.1pc compared with 24.7pc year-on-year.
Pricing trends from the Nielsen Homescan data indicate that in the 12 months to February, the average unit price for beef fell 5.9pc for supermarkets and 4.4pc for butchers. For lamb, supermarkets were even more competitive, with their unit price averaging 7.4pc lower compared with the 12 months to February 2013, while for
non-supermarkets the unit price of lamb actually rose 0.1pc over the same period.
Overall, however, when Millward Brown asked butchers to describe their business performance 23pc reported ‘thriving’ in the March quarter, compared with 18pc the same quarter last year. An additional 58pc said they were ‘doing’ (62pc in 2013) and 19pc responded with ‘usually slow or struggling’ (62pc in 2013).