Shop price annual inflation has eased to its lowest level since August 2022, falling to 5.2% in October from 6.2% in September.
According to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, non-food inflation fell to 3.4% in October, down from 4.4% in September, which is the lowest rate of inflation since September 2022.
Food inflation also decelerated markedly, falling to 8.8% in October from 9.9% in September. This is below the 3-month average rate of 10.1% and is the sixth consecutive deceleration in the food category to take it to its lowest lever since July 2022.
Fresh food inflation slowed further in October, to 8.3% from 9.6% in September, while ambient food inflation decelerated to 9.5% in October from 10.4% in September.
BRC CEO Helen Dickinson commented: “Shop price inflation eased for the fifth consecutive month to its lowest rate since August 2022. Imported goods saw higher levels of inflation due to a weaker pound, still-high producer costs and emerging trade frictions, while prices for some domestically produced foods, such as fruit, were lower compared to last month. Prices of children’s and baby clothing also fell as retailers continued to support families as the colder weather descended.
“Retailers have been battling to keep prices down for their customers in the face of rising transport costs, high interest rates and other input costs. To keep inflation heading in the right direction, it is vital that the Government does not burden businesses with unnecessary new costs. Without immediate action from the Chancellor, retailers have an additional £470m per year on their business rates bill, jeopardising the progress made. Ultimately, it’s consumers who would pay the price for the rising rates bill.”
Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight, NielsenIQ, added: “Inflation has helped the topline sales growth of many food retailers this year but in reality, shoppers have been paying more and buying less. And the rest of the retail trade has seen less benefit due to the continued squeeze on discretionary spend. This this time last year pressure was growing on household incomes as inflation was accelerating in fuel, energy, and food so as inflation continues to decelerate, we now need an uptick in sentiment to help retail sales over the next 8 weeks”.
AB InBev has posted solid third quarter growth despite a slowdown in the US and an overall drop in sales volumes.
The world’s biggest brewer saw third quarter sales increase by 5% in the third quarter, down from 10% growth in the first half.
The group’s revenue per hectolitre was up 9%, with total volumes declining by 3.4%. Growth in its Middle Americas, Africa and APAC regions was primarily offset by performance in the US and a soft industry in Europe.
AB InBev said own beer volumes were down by 4.0% in the period and non-beer volumes up by 1.4%.
Despite the slowdown in overall beer sales it saw a 15.1% increase in combined revenues of global brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and Michelob Ultra, outside of their respective home markets.
EBITDA increased by 4.1% to $5.4bn, with margin compression of 29bps, as cost management and resource allocation enabled increased sales and marketing investments and partially offset anticipated commodity cost headwinds.
Underlying profit fell back to was $1.74bn in the quarter compared to $1.68bn in the same quarter last year.
For the full year the group expects EBITDA to grow in line with its medium-term outlook of between 4-8% and revenue to grow ahead of EBITDA from a combination of volume and price.
Michel Doukeris, CEO, AB InBev commented: “The strength of our global footprint delivered another quarter of top- and bottom-line growth. Revenue increased by 5.0% with an EBITDA increase of 4.1%. We continue to invest in our strategic priorities for the long-term.”
Elsewhere, fellow global brewer Carlsberg said it achieved “solid” revenue growth in the third quarter on the back of continued strong improvement in revenue per hectolitre, which offset lower volumes.
Organic volumes were down 3% in the period, impacted by a challenging consumer enviroment and the weather.
Organic volumes in Western Europe fell back 5.2% and by 6.3% in Central & Eastern Europe, but were up 1.5% in Asia.
Its premium beer portfolio saw flat volumes, with Carlsberg down 4% and 1664 Blanc down 2%, but Tuborg up 3% and Brooklyn up 27%.
Revenue per hectolitre was up 9%, with strong growth in Western Europe and Central & Eastern Europe.
Therefore overall organic revenues were up 5.8% in the period, with reported revenues up 0.3% to DKK20.3bn as headline growth was hit by currencies.
Full year earnings expectations remain unchanged.
CEO Jacob Aarup-Andersen commented: “We delivered solid revenue growth in a challenging environment. The growth was driven by continued strong revenue/hl improvement and outperformance by our premium portfolio. We maintain our earnings guidance for the year despite our recent decision to further increase our commercial investments in the remainder of the year to support our growth priorities.
“I’m enthusiastic about our brands, our teams, the commitment of our employees and the strong performance culture, which I have experienced across the entire company since I joined in September.
“The company has a strong foundation and a healthy financial position. We’re well positioned to invest in our brands and in our markets to capture attractive long-term growth opportunities. I’m confident that we can accelerate growth in line with the SAIL’27 priorities and continue to drive year-on-year sustainable and profitable results.”
Eastern Europe Coke bottler Coca-Cola HBC has posted double-digit third quarter growth driven by strong pricing and continued volume growth.
Organic revenues in the quarter were up 15.3%, a slight slowdown on year-to-date organic revenue growth of 17%
Organic volumes were up 2.2%, led with sparkling up 1.5%, energy 24.8% and coffee 33.5%.
Organic revenue per case was up 12.9%, reflecting the cumulative benefits of revenue growth management initiatives over the last twelve months, across all categories and segments.
Overall reported revenue grew 3.8%, with strong organic growth offset by FX headwinds in emerging markets
It established markets, organic revenue increased by 7.7%, led by revenue-per-case expansion, with a mixed volume performance against tough comparatives and varied weather conditions
Developing markets saw organic revenue up 15.9%, with a strong volume performance in energy and coffee, partially offsetting weaker volumes in sparkling, water and juices.
Emerging markets saw organic revenues up 21.8%, with a strong improvement in volume growth, notably in Egypt.
CCH CEO Zoran Bogdanovic commented: “We’re pleased to have delivered another solid performance, and a second consecutive quarter of organic volume growth. This was driven by our strong execution, underpinned by a continued focus on our strategic priority categories of Sparkling, Energy and Coffee, as well as our focus on bespoke capability development to drive personalised execution for every outlet.
“Our sophisticated revenue growth management, powered by data, insights and analytics, is helping us to adapt our initiatives and execution to different consumer environments and successfully balance affordability and premiumisation. As a result, we have both enhanced revenue per case and driven higher levels of market share.
“We continue to invest in our future with a clear focus on delivering against our sustainability agenda. In Austria, we have introduced an industry-leading alternative to plastic shrink film for multipacks of multi-serve bottles, and in Romania, we have invested in recycled PET capabilities to drive packaging circularity.
“We reiterate our guidance for strong growth in 2023 and, despite continued macro uncertainties, we are well placed to deliver on our medium-term targets.”
Finally this morning, Deliveroo has priced its tender offer to give £250m back to shareholders.
The group has purchased 192.3m ordinary shares, representing approximately 10.6% of Deliveroo’s issued share capital, at 130p per share for a total cost of £250m.
The offer will bring the total return of capital announced and completed in 2023 to £300m through combination of tender offer and expected completion of £50m share purchase programme.
On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up another 0.3% to 7,352.4pts.
Risers include Deliveroo, up 4.4% to 126.1p, THG, up 3.6% to 68.3p and Marks & Spencer, up 1.7% to 218.1p.
Fallers include Greencore, down 2.3% to 86.4p, Science in Sport, down 1.8% to 12p and WH Smith, down 1.4% to 1,174p.
Yesterday in the City
The FTSE 100 started the week on the front foot, rising 0.5% to 7,327.3pts.
Premier Foods was up 3.2% to 131.2p after announcing its agreement to buy the Fuel 10K brand.
Other risers included McBride, up 4.9% to 42.1p, THG, up 4.7% to 66p, PZ Cussons, up 3.8% to 131.2p, Premier Foods, up 3.2% to 116.8p, PayPoint, up 2.7% to 530p and Just Eat Takeaway.com, up 2.5% to 958p.
The day’s few fallers included Ocado, down 4.2% to 462.7p, Tesco, down 0.9% to 270p and Kerry Group, down 0.7% to €72.00.