UK supermarket chain Booths is reaping the benefits of its core customer base having additional discretionary spend, a leading retail analyst has said.
Thomas Brereton, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, was commenting after the independent north of England chain reported sales of 11.8% over the three-week Christmas trading period.
Sales in the week leading up to Christmas Day were up 16.6%, while orders from the Booths' Christmas Book were up 66% by value.
“Family-owned Northern supermarket chain Booths has released a set of stellar Christmas results, which show revenue growth in line (or outperforming) those of the major grocers so far," said Brereton. "As well as benefitting from the expected transference of spend from shut foodservice and hospitality operators, Booths points to strong alcohol sales (e.g. beer & cider sales up 35%) as well as over 40% growth across its budding B2B and wholesale division.
“Booths’ customer base of more affluent shoppers has largely protected it from falling consumer confidence, with these consumers able to use additional discretionary spend to make more premium purchases (and subsequently increasing total spend on food & drink)."
While the Lancashire-based group was forced to close its Booths cafes during the Christmas period, and also shuttered its stores on 26 December to give its staff extra time with their families, like-for-like sales were still up 15.7% against the same trading period in 2019, it said.
Its B2B business now also includes a partnership with Amazon, as well as with 'electric forecourt' operator Gridserve.
The group's well-advertised commitment to local suppliers should also do it some service as shoppers look to support local during the pandemic, Brereton added.
"In addition to Booths’ prominent and established quality offer, its promoted network of local suppliers will have attracted shoppers looking to shift spend to local businesses. Booths’ size gives it greater flexibility than the larger operators, and Booths should look to drive home its distinction in local communities throughout 2021 and onwards.
“Booths now has a much clearer strategy than it had during its less rewarding period three to four years ago; the company had previously tried to compete with the major grocers too tenaciously, attempting to imitate the pricing structures of the major players. Recent developments in click & collect (as well as growth in brand awareness through Amazon) will continue to serve it well in the future, and Booths looks set to return to trading profit in the near future as these concepts bear fruit.”
Commenting on the group's performance, chairman and CEO Edwin Booth said, “I cannot fully express how proud I am of my colleagues at Booths. The drive and determination they show not only at Christmas, but every day is remarkable. In the most challenging of conditions, the true spirit of Booths has revealed itself in the cheerful and practical optimism of our teams.”
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine