The major grocers have yet to carry out the expected deep cull of branded products despite some high-profile delistings over recent weeks.
Supermarkets, including Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, have axed an average of 202 products across food and drink – a reduction of just 2.1% – and 56 non-food items – down 0.9% – during the first seven months of the year, according to data from market research firm IRI.
Earlier this month, Tesco announced it would no longer stock beer brand Carlsberg, with the exception of a four-pack being kept on at just 200 stores, as part of chief executive Dave Lewis’s Project Reset strategy.
The beer brand, known for its iconic marketing, joins Kingmill bread and soft drinks brand Ribena, which were axed by Tesco earlier in the year.
IRI UK head of strategic insight, retail Martin Wood said: “So far we’re seeing little evidence of major range rationalisation across all multiples, though some categories have been hit hard.
“Certain retailers are cutting back more than others, but all are taking a considered, commercial approach to optimising assortments – looking category by category and determining the effect of losing a line on value and volume sales.”
Wood warned brand owners that further cuts will follow and that even small reductions can equate to the loss of hundreds of lines or SKUs. He said: “Ambient food ranges have been reduced by a moderate 2.3%, but this equates to a loss of 120 lines.”
The chilled food category has seen the biggest reduction at 5.6%, with over-the-counter remedies and healthcare down by 3.6%, frozen down by 3.2%, canned food by 3% and household products by 2.9%. However, ambient foods saw the biggest overall reduction of lines.
Meanwhile, retailers have increased the number of personal care products stocked, adding nine lines over the seven month period.