Tuesday snapshot: other news in brief
Walgreens shareholders have voted to approve all proposals relating to the company’s merger with Alliance Boots.
The transaction is expected to complete on 31 December. The combined enterprise will be named Walgreens Boots Alliance and will be based in Chicago. However, the headquarters of Boots will remain in Nottingham.
New figures have revealed that e-cigarettes, sports nutrition and “free-from” are the fastest-growing products in UK supermarkets by sales volume.
Latest data from global information and insights company Nielsen shows that volume sales of e-cigarettes have increased by 49.5% year-on-year, while sales of sports nutrition bars, powders and shakes have risen by 42.8%.
The rise of e-cigarettes has been accompanied by a 6.1% decline in volume sales of nicotine replacement products such as patches and gum, according to Nielsen’s figures.
Meanwhile, free-from products was the third fastest growing category by sales volume with sales increasing by 15.4%.
Retail sales are predicted to grow by 2% at most in 2015 as consumer confidence remains fragile, warns the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “2015 will see some growth, but retailers will do well to break through the 2% barrier. There are multiple factors which could knock sales off course, including concern around the general election and an interest rate rise.
“There is undoubtedly growth coming through online sales, but this is a double edged sword. Online sales have a higher ‘cost to serve’, putting even more pressure on retailers’ margins."
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