In this section we address the dynamics of the UK grocery market and how it has changed during the year to provide context for our strategy and performance.
UK grocery retail market
For our financial year, the grocery market was worth £97bn, an increase of 5.6%. The top four supermarkets combined accounted for 79% of the market#.
# Nielson Retailer Service
UK consumer confidence is at the lowest ever recorded. It is four points lower now than in March 1990, which was just ahead of the last recession and at an historic low.
Source: GfK NOP
Consumers are switching retailers in search of cheaper prices and value, and switching brands from premium and organic to standard and value ranges. The combination of lower consumer confidence, rising food and fuel prices and the deterioration of the economy had the result that, by May 2008, there was real evidence of a change in consumer behaviour.
Consumer shopping trends
Consumers are eating out less and are generally looking for cheaper forms of entertainment, to a large extent based in the home. Cook at home ranges have seen strong sales growth as customers are dining out at home.