Independents and symbol groups' share of the take-home confectionery market is little more than a quarter of the level last year, new data from TNS shows.

Both groups traditionally overtrade in confectionery but in the past year this is down from 570% to 214% as the proportion of take-home confectionery bought from indies and symbols fell from 11.4% [TNS 52w/e 15 June 2008] to 3% by value this year.

"The decline in the overtrade for independents has been driven predominantly by a fall in the number of stores within this channel," said TNS consumer insight director Justin Cook. "This has resulted in shoppers shifting their spend to multiple grocers and the multiples' c-stores."

Smaller retailers had failed to pick up share from Woolworths, TNS said, with big supermarkets the biggest beneficiaries.

But confectionery buying group Sugro insisted its members primarily small wholesalers that supply independent retailers have benefited from the recession. Orders with suppliers are in double-digit growth.

"People do shop more locally in a recession, so independent retailers have benefited," said head of trading Michael Sonia.

The overall take-home confectionery market has grown 6.6% by value and 3.8% by volume, with sugar confectionery leading the way up by 10.1% and 5.9% respectively. Meanwhile, the retro revival has helped drive sales of traditional sweets. Sales of mint humbugs shot up 28% in the past year [IRI 52w/e 8 August 2009]. The UK humbug market is now worth £3.9m.