With all eyes on the World Cup, SalesOut has looked at the performance of beer and cider in the convenience retail sector to help shop owners to maximise sales in these categories.

Overall, beer and cider have recorded a sales growth of just 0.9% which is significantly below the total independent sector growth of 6% (year to May 28, 2010). This imbalance is most likely caused by heavy promoting by the multiples, often below cost, and the continuing effects of duty fraud. The categories have also lost some sales due to the late arrival of summer this year.

While ale and lager have suffered a loss in sales (currently down 0.7% and 2.5% respectively for the 52 wks to 21 May 2010), cider is still striding ahead with 13.5% growth.

SalesOut’s commercial director Steve Collins says: “With cider now accounting for 25.1% of total sales in this category (up from 22.3%), it is vital that retailers devote sufficient space to this buoyant category. Despite this, cider has benefited from a year of new product variants, new brands, media advertising and promotions that have targeted a wider audience, possibly stealing sales from beer and lager.”

Strongbow is by far the largest brand in the cider category, accounting for more than a third of sales and growing just above the category as a whole. Own label is popular, but Frosty Jacks and Magners are gaining apace with strong growth over the period. Bulmers also saw above category growth.

Conversely, own label beer is losing popularity, suggesting that convenience stores should stock more well-known brands.

The decline in performance of premium lagers such as Stella Artois is being offset by the rise in popularity of standard larger alternatives, such as the lower strength Stella Artois 4% which has seen massive take up since its launch in 2008.

Collins adds: “With consumers due to gather around the TV to watch the World Cup, and with a general trend towards home-based entertainment in the current economic climate to save money on drinking in pubs and bars, retailers must keep an eye on what is selling locally and equip themselves with the means to make the best ranging decisions.”

SalesOut’s independent sales Health Check is based on data for over 11,000 independent stores, 5,000 of which are symbol outlets.


RANK   BRAND                   CHANGE (Y-O-Y)

1            FOSTERS                     +20.1%
2            CARLING                       -15.8%
3            STELLA ARTOIS           -8.0%
4            CARLSBERG                +23.4%
5            STRONGBOW              +13.7%
6            O-L LAGER                    -28.9%
7            BUDWEISER                 +11.1%
8            C'BERG EXPORT         +3.9%
9            O-L CIDER                     +0.7%
10          FROSTY JACKS            +55.4%
11          KRONENBOURG          -6.2%
12          TENNENTS                    +1.5%
13          GUINNESS                     -3.5%
14          MAGNERS                      +37.2%
15          JOHN SMITH                  -1.8%
16          C'BERG SPEC BREW  -14.7%
17          STELLA ARTOIS 4%    +244.9%
18          GROLSCH                      -39.1%
19          GAYMERS                      +1.5%
20          BULMERS                      +15.7%
SUMMARY      PREV 52W (£m)      CURR 52WK (£m)      CHANGE

LAGER          153,192,666              149,296,584                  -2.5%
BEER             18,675,207                18,542,197                    -0.7%
CIDER           43,990,713                49,942,840                    +13.5%

TOTAL            215,858,586             217,781,620                  +0.9%