Cash & Carry drives wholesale growth

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Cash & Carry is the top performer in the UK wholesale market, according to a new report from the IGD.

Its Grocery and Foodservice Wholesaling 2010 study reveals cash and carry operators grew sales by 6.1% to £10.3bn in 2009 – the fastest growth seen this decade.

The IGD projects the total wholesale market will increase by 2.9% and reach £26.3bn by the end of the year.

Cash and carry has benefited from the growing numbers of business customers attracted by lower prices and its flexibility as a source of supply, said the IGD. Cash and carry wholesalers also enjoyed a boost in tobacco sales as volume returned to the UK market from overseas sources.

Delivered grocery wholesalers increased by 3.6% to £8.8bn, sustained by the continued growth of the UK convenience sector.

However, sales within delivered foodservice wholesalers were down by 1.2% to £6.3bn, with the sector facing the toughest challenges as consumers reined in spending on eating out.

Patrick Mitchell-Fox, senior business analyst, IGD and author of the report, said: “Despite a tough economic climate, wholesaling remains a resilient and adaptable channel within the food and grocery industry. Many wholesalers are moving beyond their traditional boundaries by broadening their offer and extending their proposition to appeal to a wider range of customers.

“When more favourable times return, these operators will be well placed to benefit from the strong underlying consumer trends towards eating out, as well as convenience shopping, which remain in place.”