Unanimously, the buyers responding to this week’s e-mail poll said that the price war would be as fierce as it was in 2004.
One buyer said: “There is no doubt this year will be very aggressive in the marketplace as the majors fight for market share.”
And another added: “We believe prices will again be at the forefront and I am sure consumers will continue to wait to the last minute to get the best deal.”
Government policies would have a negative impact on retail, said one buyer.
“The government will make
decisions that I believe will mean consumer spending at Christmas will be tight.”
Another buyer warned: “I think value for money is going to be the key this year, and that may mean price cuts across all retail outlets.”
The outlook for innovation this festive season appears bleak as 70% of our buyers said that suppliers had failed to impress with new products.
“I have found the level of innovation we do have to be completely own-label driven,” said one buyer.
“I have seen just one piece of branded new product development this year, which is disappointing.
“Any changes that have been made have been tweaks to a successful formula.”
However, other buyers predicted there would be solid innovation in fresh produce and confectionery.
One buyer, impressed with the ranges offered by Nestlé, Guylian and Ferrero, said new consumer trends would emerge as a result of suppliers’ new product development initiatives.
Sixty per cent of buyers have completed their Christmas ranges, with most others in the process of finalising deals over the next few weeks.
Reader Panel: Buyers