The story of ‘Christmas present’ is just about written and it was a gift to the winners: Tesco. Lower prices driving higher transactions = higher volumes. Tesco’s 1.3% like-for-like volume rise is more than a six-fold factor better than the other major mults and at least as good as the discounters, and that on a whopping 28% share. The losers were the analysts who miscalled it as spectacularly as the general election pollsters. So, red noses and red faces at Kantar and Nielsen.
The discounters have to ask how to break through the ‘Fairy liquid’ effect next year. Christmas is the last stand of discounter stigma: people want reliable and prestige names in their kitchen for the festive period. The big four, meanwhile, will contemplate how the simple truth of Christmas 2015 can be turned into a more profitable platform all year round. People need to eat and at Christmas they eat at home, so they need good-quality food at attractive prices without confusing promotions. Present this efficiently in a simple, pleasant easy to shop environment, and - guess what? - they buy!
Even without seeing Christmas performances by category, I will bet my next turkey dinner that the big grocers struggled in non-food, where online has to be the future, and perhaps maybe John Lewis stores. Retailers are going back to what they are good at - a supermarket should focus on food. Major multiple grocers can now see a glimmer of light at the end of a long dark trading tunnel. They have given too much price space to Aldi and Lidl for too long and even let them almost steal the quality crown - they must not make the same mistake and give oxygen to Amazon’s currently very paltry pantry.
Suppliers can look forward with anticipation to a year of opportunity. Yes, commodity deflation is locked in for the foreseeable future, and consumers are fickle and savvy, but at least one of the big four has rediscovered its trading mojo. Show them you understand their consumers and shoppers, that you have products and solutions to meet those shopper needs, and you will see more business come your way. Simplifying ranges, promotions and layouts is the way to add value. The discounter wave is not over, the 2016 hunger games are on!