Somerfield is not the place to go if you are worried about your regular cereal purchase being out of stock, according to the latest analysis of the category for Stockwatch.
The cereals market is extremely active with a sku count on average of 114.
Tesco and Asda have the greatest variety on offer in this category with 178 and 158 SKUs respectively.
Many of the products are geared to families, and the size of the products and the number and quality of the on-pack promotions alone make this a challenging category for manufacturers and retailers alike. Stores also see this as a category where promotions are important.
In the most recent survey, some 16% of the category across all stores was on promotion, with the highest percentages in Somerfield, at 27%, and Tesco, at 23%.
When you add to this the size of the packs, you have a category that you would expect to be a sure bet for stock issues.
This is why it is surprising that the average out of stock in the category was as low as 10% against averages for the stores of 19% in promotions, and 9% as opposed to 12% for standard price lines.
Somerfield, with the most lines on promotion, managed an extremely creditable 3% at risk. Unfortunately, on the other side of the coin, the standard offering,was well on the other side of normal availability, at 22% expected out of stocks during peak shopping periods.
Following close behind in the hall of shame comes Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons.
However, the category average for normal SKUs outside Somerfield is 23% compared with a category average of 48% to date. That is a very creditable performance by the major supermarkets.
It should be remembered that the Stockwatch measure is much more stringent than the IGD tests.
You can show up in the “at risk” area if you still have a fair few packs on the shelf, but are thought by the shopper to be virtually out of stock.
These availabilities are better than we see in the IGD averages overall.
It goes to show what can be done within the restrictions of the grocery shelf with good category planning.