Blog: Dean BestIs UK demand for private label changing?

Dean Best | 11 May 2010

More fuel for the debate on whether we are seeing consumers return to premium has come from UK retail analysts at

Industry watchers at Kantar Worldpanel recently insisted that it had spotted a "sustained return" to premium products in the UK despite the fragile nature of the country's economy.

Kantar cited that return as a reason why Asda was falling behind rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Days later, there was an indication of the continued popularity of discount retailers in the UK with the GBP200m takeover of Poundland.

However, the folk at have taken a more nuanced view. Shoppers are again starting to buy more upmarket food - but at levels far below that seen before the downturn.

"We did some quick research of our own and found that shoppers are spending 3% more on the premium own label ranges than they were a year ago, but it’s still 14% less than 2 years ago," says Jonny Steel from "This definitely suggests that the popularity of premium ranges is on the rise again, but still a long way to go until it reaches its pre-recession heights."

Similarly, Steel says that sales of "economy" own-label lines, including the Sainsbury's Basics range, had dropped over the last year by 12%.

"This once again suggests that consumers are starting to let go of these cheap ranges, but are still buying more than they were before the recession hit," Steel explains.


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