For years, center store was overshadowed by the mighty perimeter. In 2014, the perimeter, including meat, produce, deli, bakery and seafood, doubled center-store edibles growth at +5 percent versus +2.5 percent. Despite center store accounting for more than two-thirds of sales, retailers started allocating more space, labor hours and SKUs to the perimeter with a shrinking center store as a result. Today, the roles are reversed. Center-store is back, and confectionery and snacks are among the winners.
In 2018, center store edibles grew 2.1 percent for the year, whereas perimeter growth slowed to just +1.4 percent, according to IRI. With the right assortment, innovation and alignment of products and merchandising with consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets, center store’s revival is driving total store sales to recover also. In 2018, total store dollar sales were up 2.0 percent, the highest in three years. Total store grew unit sales grew 0.4 percent, after losing ground in 2017.
The confectionery and snack aisles are in the midst of center store’s revival. They are big, powerful and growing areas. Confectionery and snacks are trip and basket drivers, with high household engagement and enormous seasonal power. In IRI’s multi-outlet universe, snacks, including cookies and crackers, are the second-largest category measured in dollar sales — only behind cigarettes. Chocolate, non-chocolate, gum and mints are the fifth-largest. Altogether, confectionery and snacks grew 2.7 percent in dollars and 1.1 percent in units — well ahead of the total store results.
Gains were achieved for virtually all subcategories, from chocolate, non-chocolate and gum to salty snacks, cookies and meat snacks. But for both confectionery and snacks, a wide assortment featuring proven customer favorites combined with new items to delight and surprise are key to success. For instance, retailers added 4 percent more items in non-chocolate and saw corresponding sales increases of 2.9 percent. Oftentimes, a contraction in assortment results in flat or declining sales. Another example of the importance of staying on top of market trends lies with premium and novelty chocolate. With premiumization driving sales gains across the store, retailers added 8 percent more premium chocolate items, resulting in a 19 percent increase in dollars. Novelty chocolate grew a whopping 831 percent in 2018. Are you ready to find your next sales winner?
Looking to take advantage?
Sweets & Snacks Expo is THE place to find the products, insights and relationships to maximize center-store sales. Learn more & Register.