Butchers cling onto slender lead in retail share

Jon Condon, 10/08/2011


Independent butchers clung onto a slender lead over Woolworths in national retail beef market share in latest industry survey results.

The monthly Roy Morgan Australian Meat Purchasing Data report issued recently suggests independents have retained the number-one slot for beef market share, after regaining the top ranking two months ago from Woolworths for the first time since April 2010.

The latest Morgan survey suggests independent butchers hold 28.4 percent of retail beef and veal channel share across Australia, down from 29.4pc in last month’s report. The assessment is based on a rolling three-month figure (April to June) rather than single-month data, which analysts say is more unstable.

Over the same period, Woolworths’ beef market share also slipped a little, from 28.9pc to 28.1pc.

Australia’s other major supermarket retailer Coles, picked up a little of the slack from independents and Woolworths declines, growing from 21.6pc to 21.9pc over the same cycle.

Coles’ share over the longer term appears to be on a gentle rise again, after a period of unchanged market share around 21pc since the start of the year.

Other smaller retailers scrutinised in the Roy Morgan survey also showed an improving trend, with the IGA/Foodland group jumping from 5.7pc to 6.9pc and Aldi Supermarkets steady at 3.4pc. The market/deli/other retail category also displayed a solid rise to 8.7pc, a full 1pc up on this time last year.

Analysts point out that when assessing the Roy Morgan survey data of claimed household consumption, the exact level of peaks and troughs cannot be determined with certainty. However the dataset is claimed to be reliable in indicating the general trend being experienced.

Overall species category share saw little substantial change in June, with beef and chicken both steady, but lamb’s share continuing to decline. Beef has hit 40pc of total fresh red and white meat sales for the second month running, the best result since April last year.

Discounting and retail specials used to clear abundant stocks of beef in cold storage due to flat international demand has probably contributed to the improvement in beef’s share, relative to other white and red meats. Lamb’s share fell to 14.3pc in June, down from almost 17pc this time last year.

The flat retail market and attractive pricing may also have contributed to the strong performance in number of beef and veal meal serves recorded in the survey, with a steady improvement since February to reach 55.3 million serves/week in the latest survey.

Chicken was flat to slightly stronger (40.21 million serves/week), while higher-priced lamb was well down over the same period (19.71m serves), suggesting price-sensitivity during tighter economic times may be still driving purchasing patterns.

In overall red and white meat protein sales, serves averaged 137.93m/week in the three months to June 2011, almost identical to the previous survey, but still lower than the 140.18m figure this time last year.


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