SalesOut's Category Health Check this month focuses on biscuits and canned fruit & desserts

The independent sector saw 4.7% growth in like-for-like sales in May, according to the latest figures from SalesOut. This healthy growth is attributable to bursts of good weather and Bank Holiday weekends, and shows that the sector is continuing to demonstrate resilience in the recession.

SalesOut commercial director Steve Collins says: "In the last column we detailed the top growth categories for convenience stores. Biscuits was one of these top 12 growth categories - increasing 10.9% year on year - as was canned fruit & desserts, which saw 8.7% growth.

"As the trend towards shopping locally continues - which is typical in a recession as consumers look to reduce unnecessary purchases and wastage - convenience stores must prepare for growing demand on stock and store standards, so it is vital to have the right products in store to meet consumer needs. With this in mind, SalesOut has created a check list for the top-selling products in the canned fruit and desserts and biscuits categories for the year ending May 2009."

The SalesOut Category Health Check is derived from sales data for more than 5,000 independent stores, 3,000 of which are symbol stores. It identifies the key products in each category to ensure retailers have a range to reflect market trends.

The top 25 biscuit lines deliver 70% of total category sales for independents, while the top 20 desserts make up 56% of that category. To view the full list of key lines, visit

MUST-STOCK biscuits

1. McVitie's Homewheat Milk 300g/400g

2. McVitie's Homewheat Plain 400g

3. McVitie's Milk Choc Hob Nobs 300g

4. Bahlsen Choco Leibniz Milk

5. McVitie's Jaffa Cakes 12s

6. McVitie's Digestive 300g/400g

7. Own label Digestive 400g

8. McVitie's Hob Nobs 300g

MUST-STOCK canned desserts

1. Carnation Evap Milk 410g

2. Carnation Condensed 397g

3. Ambrosia Creamed Rice 425g

4. Ambrosia Devon Custard 425g

5. Ambrosia Devon Custard tetra 500g

6. Birds Instant Custard

sachet 75g

7. Birds Custard Powder 300g

8. Del Monte Fruit Cocktail Syrup 420g