Blog: Dean BestAre we on the road to recovery?

Dean Best | 15 June 2009

Some might say the sun has gone to their heads but, last week, there were a number of influential voices who dared to discuss the 'r' word – recovery.

Despite UK retail sales falling 0.8% on a like-for-like basis in May, some industry watchers were prepared to offer some optimism that the numbers could suggest that better times lay, if not around the corner, then just a few blocks away.

While admitting there was “a long way to go” before a fully-fledged recovery, IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch betrayed a note of optimism. “Some sources are beginning to report signs of economic stabilisation: the stock market is strengthening, the pound is up and confidence seems to be improving.”

Two days later, Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy echoed those tones, when he said UK consumer confidence was “slowly seeping back”. Leahy acknowledged that the situation remained “fluid” and spoke of the “dark cloud” of unemployment – but he urged the industry to “think about recovery now”.

If you plan to follow Sir Terry's advice, just-food's relaunched jobs site can help you plan for recovery by finding the brightest talent in our industry. The site, which goes live today, aims to help recruiters find the right candidate - and job-seekers find the right job - within the global food industry.

For some, the downturn has proved a boon for their business. In the UK, retailers like Aldi, Poundland and Iceland have all benefited from the cash-strapped consumer's frantic search for value. It could be said, therefore, that any recovery could stall their growth.

Not so, Aldi and Poundland argued last week. Addressing the British Retail Consortium's annual conference, Paul Foley, head of Aldi's operations in the UK and Ireland, insisted shoppers will still be swayed by value even when the economy recovers. “Nobody likes to feel like they paid more for an item than they should have. That principle will survive,” Foley argued. Poundland boss Jim McCarthy insisted the changes in consumer behaviour seen during the recession “will remain sticky”.

Meanwhile, Iceland, the frozen food retailer, issued a set of buoyant annual results last week. Its sales have flourished during the downturn and chief executive Malcolm Walker signalled the retailer's confidence in the future with plans to open 20 new stores and convert 51 former Woolworths outlets in the year ahead. But with the revival of frozen food sales coming as the state of the economy has worsened, it is reasonable to ask whether a chill will return to the sector once the recovery emerges.


Nestle announces changes to senior team with new CEO on horizon

Nestle, set to welcome a new CEO on 1 January, has announced more changes to the make-up of its senior management team....


Blue Bell Creameries involved in another safety scare

Blue Bell Creameries is trying to win back the trust of consumers after a fatal listeriosis outbreak last year was linked to its products - but in recent days the US ice cream maker has issued another...


Hain Celestial's Orchard House deal waved through

The UK's competition regulator has given the all-clear to Hain Celestial's bid to buy UK food and beverage group Orchard House Foods, nine months after the US group announced the deal....


Hershey's unusual move to share sales data

Hershey made an unusual announcement today (20 September), sharing its own sales data for the last four weeks to assuage any possible investor concern over figures released by Nielsen....

just-food homepage

Forgot your password?