Sales for UK grocery wholesalers rose 0.3% in 2015 to £30bn, in spite of continued price deflation in retail. IGD forecasts the channel will grow by a further 1.3% over the next five years, driven primarily by the development of new clients in the foodservice market.
IGD’s Chief Economist James Walton, who chaired yesterday’s IGD Wholesaling Summit in London, said: “Now is the time for wholesalers and their partners to take the initiative and develop new growth opportunities. We have noted a decline of symbol stores this year (by 0.7%), but this is rooted in short-term structural change and, once passed, we should see growth reassert itself.
“There are some really encouraging growth opportunities for the sector. Above all, consumers are becoming more willing to spend on eating out, driving the rapid evolution of the high street casual dining and pub sectors, as well as food-to-go. As a result, foodservice wholesalers have continued to buck the wider trend in the sector and we believe that this will continue as the UK keeps embracing out-of-home consumption.
“We are also seeing wholesalers across the board work much more closely with suppliers and retailers, engaging directly with each other and working towards the same goals which, in turn, is making wholesale a much more effective channel. So there remains plenty to play for in this sector.”