Pandemic leads to UK wholesale industry growth decline

The UK wholesale industry experienced growth of 3.7% in 2020/21 compared to the 3.9% seen the previous 12 months, according to Lumina Intelligence’s UK Wholesale Market Report 2021/22.

The foodservice sector decline during the pandemic has been cited as a main reason for the 0.2% growth loss, with Brakes (-34.3%) and Bidfood’s (-24.8%) growth figures key examples of this.

The UK’s two leading foodservice wholesalers also saw their combined share of the top nine leading wholesaler turnovers decline by 6.6% to 7.9%. However, traditional and hybrid wholesalers reported 10% turnover growth in 2020.

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Insight director at Lumina Intelligence, Blonnie Whist, said: “The last 18-24 months have been incredibly turbulent for the wholesale industry. Despite high sales, traditional wholesalers were faced with significantly increased demand that cause huge pressure on the supply chain. In contrast, foodservice wholesalers saw demand fall off a cliff.

“It is no surprise that guaranteed product availability was one of the issues highlighted by operators and retailers, however there was arguably little more wholesalers could have done. With restrictions easing, we expect to see a further rebalancing between foodservice and retail, which will enable greater normality and more robust demand planning,” she added.

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Paul Hill
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 07960935659.

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