Sales through grocery wholesalers rose by 2.7% in 2003, the best growth for several years, according to a new IGD report.
The researchers say the strong performance is due to a number of factors, particularly the positive impact of last year’s hot summer and the growth of symbol and fascia groups.
IGD predicts that the grocery wholesale sector will grow to £17.6bn by 2007, which represents 1.8% annual growth.
However, delivered wholesale is predicted to fare much better than cash and carry.
“Delivered wholesale, especially boosted by the predicted significant growth of symbols in the c-store sector is expected to grow to £8bn in 2007 (an annual growth rate of 3.5%), while cash and carry is expected to reach £9.6bn, representing average annual growth rate of 0.5%,” says IGD.
Its research also shows that traditionally ‘pure’ cash and carry operators are developing delivery services - which now account for 11% of their sales, with some firms reporting growth of up to 10%.
The report also highlighted the development of foodservice sales which currently account for just 6% of business in the grocery wholesale market.
And despite the pressures on wholesale, a report survey revealed that 79% of suppliers were confident the sector would be playing a key role in the supply of grocery products in a decade’s time.