Austin, Texas: Whole Foods Market has played down the impact of a worsening economy, claiming 70% of shoppers are continuing to buy the same volumes of organic food and drink they always have done. The retailer said a survey it had commissioned showed results were similar across geographic locations, despite the varying regional impact of the housing slump and economic downturn. The survey also found adults were now preparing more meals at home (43%), using more coupons (40%) and going out of their way to look for lower-cost items (37%) as a result of higher food costs.
Croix, France: Auchan Group has released results for the first half of the year showing sales up 9.4% to €18.7bn (£15.2bn) and EBITDA up 3.8% to €822m. Auchan’s international operations have increased in importance (49.8% of sales compared with 48% at the year ending 2007) as the retailer seeks to exploit markets with stronger growth potential. In France, sales were up 6.2% to €9.4bn (£7.6bn) over the first half, but EBITDA declined by 6.6%, a measure, said Auchan, of the poor economic outlook. “Despite a negative trend in the purchasing power of our mature market customers, Auchan Group’s consolidated achievements are close to our objectives, due in particular to the contribution of the emerging countries,” said Christophe Dubrulle, chairman of Auchan Group. This confirms our discount policy is the right choice.”