Supermarket prices fell back into deflation in April according to The Grocer Price Index, with overall grocery prices now in decline in five of the past seven months.
Overall the GPI, collated for The Grocer by Edge by Ascential from over 64,000 SKUs across the big four supermarkets, fell back into deflation of 0.3% last month having edged up to inflation of 0.4% in March.
Supermarket price have been in deflation in five of the past seven months, after hitting inflation of 2.7% back in November 2017, as prices rose due to the weakening value of the pound.
The Grocer Price Index found Asda prices were 1% cheaper year on year over April, the third time in the past four months the supermarket has had the lowest level of inflation. Asda’s annual price drop during the month was its largest so far this year and only topped in recent times by its 1.1% deflation over December 2018.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s also both moved back into deflation during April, recording annual price cuts of 0.5% and 0.3% respectively after year-on-year prices had increased in March.
Morrisons remained the big four player with the highest level of annual inflation - a position it has occupied in each of the past seven months. Morrisons prices were up 0.8% year on year in April - its highest inflation for three months, but notably lower than the 2.1% it recorded in January.
This week’s edition of The Grocer looks at the annual accounts filings of Boparan and how the sale of Goodfella’s saved the under-pressure UK food giant from posting a £100-plus loss, how sales growth in booming at Tails.com following its acquisition by Nestle, Kettle Foods swings to annual loss and much more.
Check out thegrocer.co.uk/finance later this morning for the full stories.
In the US, consumer goods company Edgewell has bought direct-to-consumer razor brand Harry’s in a combined cash and stock transaction that values Harry’s at $1.37bn.
Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider, Harry’s co-Founders and co-CEOs, have agreed to join the Executive Team of Edgewell at closing, to serve as co-presidents of US operations.
“The combination of Edgewell and Harry’s is a pivotal step forward in further transforming our organization and strengthening our competitive position and ability to drive sustained growth and value creation,” said Rod Little, Edgewell’s president and CEO.
“Building on Edgewell’s and Harry’s complementary strengths, our combined company will have leading brands and omni-channel capabilities that are essential to meet the needs of the modern consumer and win in today’s market environment.”
Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider said: “Together with Edgewell, we see a significant opportunity to continue delivering on that vision, leveraging Edgewell’s advanced technology and global footprint alongside our customer-first approach, brand building expertise and omni-channel capabilities.”
Elsewhere, Hain Celestial (HAIN) has agreed to sell its Hain Pure Protein business, which includes the FreeBird and Empire Kosher businesses and brands, to Aterian Investment Partners.
The deal is valued at US$80m and is expected to close before the end of Hain’s financial year of 30 June 2019.
Hain CEO Mark Schiller commented: “This divestiture is another step forward in simplifying our organization aligned with our transformational strategic plan as we aggressively pursue margin enhancing initiatives to fuel long-term sustainable growth and profitability.
“We expect the sale of Hain Pure Protein to also help improve our balance sheet as we generate cash from the sale with which we plan to use in part to pay down debt. We believe these non-core brands will generate better results under the ownership of an organization that is focused on the protein category.”
On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has rebounded 0.7% to 7,254.4pts after its falls yesterday.
Yesterday in the City
The FTSE 100 fell back a further 0.9% to 7,207.4pts as fears of a trade war between the US and China were stoked once more.
Closer to home, Morrisons (MRW) fell 0.9% to 211.7p after announcing first quarter like for like sales growth of 2.3% despite a slowdown in organic retail sales to just 0.2%.
Ocado (OCDO), which together with Morrisons announced the end of the exclusivity of their partnership and that Morrisons will not use Ocado’s Erith CFC to give the online supermarket more capacity, also fell back 1.6% to 1,332p.
Tesco also dropped 1.2% yesterday back to 240.6p.
Other fallers included Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), down 4.1% to 350p, DS Smith (SMDS), down 3.6% to 335.6p, Just Eat (JE), down 3.1% to 673.2p, FeverTree (FEVR), down 2.9% to 3,053p, Stock Spirits (STCK), down 2.4% to 228p, Greene King (GNK), down 1.8% to 600.4p and Hilton Food Group (HFG), down 1.8% to 1,006p.
The day’s more scarce risers included Imperial Brands (IMB), which bounced back from a heavy share price fall on Wednesday over concerns about the slowing of its US vaping business. Imperial was up 2.2% back to 2,227.5p, while fellow tobacco giant Imperial Brands (IMB) rose 1.4% to 2,885.5p.