Steven Lambert takes a brief look at the latest news and trends emerging from Pro-retail 2014

1. Costcutter remains bullish over its transition plans despite “teething problems”

Costcutter chief executive Darcy Willson-Rymer acknowledged the group had been experiencing issues during its switch to Palmer & Harvey in Northern Ireland. But despite this, he said the company remained “on track” with its migration plans in the UK, which will take place over the next few weeks. Mr Willson-Rymer also revealed the group’s new fascia strategy focusing on its three core brands, Costcutter, Mace and Kwiksave.

2. FMCG manufacturers are looking to take advantage of the upcoming tobacco display ban

Richard Tyler of Kerry Foods said hiding tobacco products from view, along with declining newspaper sales, will mean some traditional CTNs will need to find other ways of making their stores a destination point for shoppers. He added that Kerry Foods is looking to support retailers in this sense by helping them create more meal deal solutions around chilled snacks, with the firm also working on category management plans that will accommodate even the smallest stores.

3. Competition is heating up in food-to-go

Both Taste Inc. and Kepak were at the show to demonstrate new microwave standing units along with updates to their food-to-go ranges. Both units are currently being trialed with retailers with Kepak currently testing out a number of bespoke options, including units with an attached drinks chiller to encourage additional impulse sales.

4. More manufacturers are looking to score big with the World Cup

It was near impossible to miss the buzz around this summer’s World Cup at Pro-retail, with crisp and snack manufacturers in particular looking to gain an edge with a host of football-themed promotions at the show. This included Pringles, which will give away limited edition Umbro football shirts when shoppers buy two promotional Pringles cans.

5. Alcohol manufacturers are targeting convenience stores with more premium lines and fractional sizes

Many alcohol manufacturers in attendance spoke of the opportunity for convenience retailers to stock more premium beers, wines and spirits. This included Accolade Wines, which was on hand to promote revamped packaging for its Hardys wines and revealed its new premium William Hardy range. Meanwhile, First Drinks said it is working on offering new shelf-ready packaging to independents on its range of miniature spirits.