Small food retailers are biggest casualties of supermarket price wars: new study
The study by business recovery firm Begbies Traynor found that levels of “significant” financial distress among UK food retailers increased by more than 14% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period last year.
According to Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, the UK food retail industry is going through one of the biggest structural changes in more than 30 years, as consumers from all walks of life seek out the best bargains on offer, both in store and online.
Palmer said: “While the news agenda so far has focused on Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s and their struggles to maintain market share, the real victims of the current supermarket price wars, namely the smaller independent food retailers and local grocery suppliers which fuel our communities, have largely been forgotten.
“For much of the population, disposable income is still being squeezed no thanks to above inflation increases in utility bills and public transport fares, which are hitting families hard and driving more and more people towards the supermarkets’ rock-bottom prices.”
She added: “Even for the middle classes, who have been less impacted by economic austerity, the appeal of finding a bargain now far outweighs the pre-recessionary charm of buying local produce from trendy independent retailers. Meanwhile the growing popularity of online food delivery services is encouraging yet more of this consumer group away from smaller local shops, which simply cannot compete on convenience or value for money.”
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