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Europe's Top Retailers Facing Snow Challenge

Published on Dec 20 2010 10:16 AM in Retail

Europe's Top Retailers Facing Snow Challenge

Retailers across Europe have been voicing concerns over the continued arctic conditions in many European countries, with the UK and France particularly hit. French retailer Auchan has revealed that while sales at its hypermarkets rose 10 per cent year on year in November, December was proving a challenging month, with store closures.

"The impact on days like these is colossal...I have no crystal bowl but the biggest week is next week," said Chairman Arnaud Mulliez late last week. "In food, it will be difficult to make up for the disruption and I heard on the radio that more snow is expected."

In the UK, snow is playing havoc with both supermarket deliveries and footfall, with market research firm Synovate noting that there were 24 per cent fewer customers visiting shops last Saturday, the last before Christmas, compared to the same Saturday in 2009. Some retailers are performing stronger than others, however - Waitrose saw sales increase 7 per cent year-on-year in the week ending December 11th, to an average of £543,568 per store, with managing director Mark Price noting that shoppers "brought forward their shopping to earlier in the week" due to snow forecasts for later in the week.

In Germany, where retail sales have shown an impressive recovery in recent months, the impact of the weather is being downplayed. Douglas Parfumerie noted that the weather had more of an impact last year, while Metro Group said in a statement that it was "coping with the snow and ice. Even if there are some delays, customers in stores rarely notice." (20 Dec)

© 2010 - ESM: European Supermarket Magazine

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