Independent food retailers are facing tough trading conditions in the run-up to the festive period as the major supermarkets slash prices to stimulate pre-Christmas sales while some manufacturers are struggling to meet demand.
It is understood that pressure on the independent sector has increased as the multiple retailers have cut prices and introduced promotions on a range of seasonal products with five weeks still to go.
One insider at an independent retailer says: “When prices are dropped so early the danger is the market will collapse, and that is bad news for us. So far, the weather has been too mild for people to even consider Christmas, so sales have been slow. A bit of snow on the ground might help us.”
Retailers are also concerned that supply chain issues will hit sales as some manufacturers struggle to meet demand.
Confectionery giant Cadbury has continuing problems with its supply chain after it installed a new computer system in the summer, and there are growing fears that this problem will last over Christmas.
Another food industry insider adds that other manufacturers, including Nestlé Rowntree, are also having problems.
She adds: “At the moment we are just focusing on keeping things in stock as manufacturers are in such short supply of products.”