The independent sector saw 9.7% growth in like-for-like sales in July, according to SalesOut, despite a deterioration in the weather. The rise illustrates that the trend towards shopping more locally is still going strong.

Category Health Check: Top energy drinks in impulse 
Red Bull 250ml: Original and sugar-free varieties

Lucozade Energy 380ml/500ml: original, orange and apple

Lucozade Sport 500ml: orange, raspberry, tropical and hydration

Relentless 500ml can

Monster 500ml

Powerade 500ml: berry & tropical

Own label / value: 250ml, 500ml and 1ltr

Lucozade Energy 1ltr: original and orange

Lucozade Energy 6x380ml: original and orange

Red Bull 4x250ml

Soft drinks and fresh foods were behind a 6.6% rise in trading in the multiples in the month to July 11, and SalesOut has analysed the sales data for soft drinks in the independent sector. It shows a staggering 17.4% growth in sales for the same period. This is based on data from 5,000 independent stores, 3,000 of which are in symbol groups.

The sports & energy sub-category is performing extremely well, with 23% growth in the month to July 18 and 19% growth in the past 52 weeks. It's an essential category for independents, accounting for 25% of total sales of soft drinks.

With this in mind, SalesOut has created a Category Health Check of the top 20 sports & energy drinks for independents. 
Lucozade has managed to adapt to retain its category share and is the top-selling brand in the Category Health Check, while own-label or value products such as Euro Shopper and Boost have made their way into the top 20 as consumers become more frugal in the recession.

While independent stores have historically been associated with impulse purchases, take-home soft drinks have outperformed impulse. Take-home lemonade is performing particularly well, with a 36% rise in sales in the past 52 weeks. Cola, too, is in resurgence, showing a 23% rise in sales from June to July 24, largely owing to BBQs and the school holidays.

In contrast, total sales of fruit juice are in significant decline.