Blog: Dean BestThe sluggishness of FMCG in Europe laid bare

Dean Best | 17 August 2016

An indication of how tough trading conditions are in much of Europe emerged today (17 August) with figures from Nielsen suggesting in the second quarter of the year the region's FMCG sector had grown at the slowest rate since 2008.

Nielsen measures 21 markets in Europe and said grocery retailers saw a 0.8% increase in takings at the till – the lowest figure since measurement began in the final quarter of 2008.

The biggest declines in the three months to the end of June were in Greece (where sales fell 7.2%) and in Finland (where sales dropped 4.6%).

At the other end of the scale, sales in Turkey were up 8.9%. Norway and Sweden followed, with takings up 3.5% and 3.2% respectively.

Looking at the big five markets in western Europe, sales in Spain were up 2.1%, with Italy next at 1.2%. However, the UK had its worst performance for nearly two years, Nielsen said, with sales down 1.6%, the third lowest among the 21 countries.

“The historically low performance across Europe is driven by two factors,” Jean-Jacques Vandenheede, Nielsen’s European director of retail insights, said. “The negative effect of Easter not occurring in Q2 this year but doing so last year, however, more significantly, the very low growth in France and Germany and the noticeable decline in the UK which is being driven by fierce price competition among the retailers. Southern Europe was often to blame for Europe’s poor performance but it’s currently doing quite well whilst northern Europe is today’s problem child.”

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