Sales Out shows that the independent sector remains the home of the brands

The independent sector saw growth in like-for-like sales of 8.1% in the year to June 2009, driven by good weather and a propensity for consumers to shop locally to make the most of their leisure time.

This strong monthly performance pushed the annual growth in like-for- like sales up to 6%, further endorsing the positive momentum of the independent sector.

This month, SalesOut has analysed the sales data for branded and own brand goods at 5,000 independent stores, to help retailers understand trends in these areas.

Branded goods continue to dominate in the independent sector. Indeed, own label penetration fell from 13.7% to 13.5% of total sales in the past year (excluding tobacco). Wines, once predominantly own label, continue to move towards a branded offering, showing further penetration decline from 31% to 25.6% despite category growth of 2.9%.

Bucking this trend was a phenomenal rise in discount own labels, which achieved a massive year-on-year growth of more than 70%. Euro Shopper is one example of a successful discount own label.

Among the most successful own labels in the independent sector are traditional lines such as biscuits, canned goods, paperware and homecare. Chilled food continues to be a category with a strong own brand offer, increasing penetration to 34% against a background of 9% growth in total sales.

SalesOut commercial director Steve Collins says: "The sustained recession has significantly altered consumer shopping habits. Across the whole of society, consumers are spending more wisely and will continue to look for 'best value' after the recession. The performance of discount own label products shows that if branded manufacturers can offer a strong value offer, then consumers will respond favourably, and convenience stores should include them in their offering.

"The underperformance of own brand in the convenience marketplace shows that this continues to be a good market for suppliers of branded goods, which is good news for convenience stores as suppliers will continue to invest more in this route to market and less in the multiples where they continue to see diminishing returns."