Successful Christmas trading for butchers
With the New Year now upon us, Meat Management looks back on the Christmas period and offers exclusive insight from the Q Guild and National Craft Butchers on 2018’s festive trading for independent retailers.
Claire Holland, manager of the Q Guild of Butchers, revealed that the large majority of members reported a successful festive trading period, with sales generally increasing compared to previous years.
She noted that customers seemed to leave buying their meat later this year, with orders increasing dramatically in the fortnight before Christmas.
Jane Silburn, Cranstons marketing and retail Development manager commented: “At Cranstons we had a strong Christmas but we did feel some people were more mindful of over ordering and wasting food this year.
“Poultry was still the most popular centre piece with smaller birds and saddles selling particularly well. Affordable entertaining items like our £22 Christmas Cushion and £10 Hog Roast Sharing Garland sold strongly.”
Kat Nicholson of Nicholson’s Butchers told Meat Management her business had a good Christmas with trade up from last year.
Nicholson continued: “It was good to have it over three days – we found the 22nd (Saturday) to be unusually busy which we don’t normally have – it was as busy as Christmas Eve!”
Callaghans Butchers also reported successful trading with 330 turkey orders; 3000 pigs in blankets; 3/4 of a ton of award winning sausages and half a ton of bacon.
However on the flip side, Mark Porter, general manager at Higginsons of Grange, said December had been quieter for him than last year.
Porter said: “Christmas sales were in line with what we expected and were slightly up on 2017, although overall this December has been a bit quieter than last year.
“Our whole turkey sales were slightly improved on last year and seem to be higher on average compared to other retailers, perhaps because we offer to crown the birds for customers at no extra cost.”
Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Craft Butchers, also commented: “Like life in general, festive trading continues to be a bit last minute with one Oxfordshire butcher remarking that ‘the lead up was about as expected and everything coming right at the end’.
“In London, Brexit was blamed for poor trading in the lead up to the festivities, particularly with those relying on pre-Christmas celebrations.”
Kelsey said that north-east and north-west ‘town and country’ butchers reported a good all-round trade with whole birds, boneless turkey breast, stuffed poultry stacks and ribs of beef being particularly popular.
Holland concluded: “It seems that despite some negative headlines around meat in 2018, consumers desire to support independent businesses at Christmas has driven them to their high street butcher in droves, where they’ve been met with the highest level of quality, service and craftsmanship that each Q Guild member offers.”
To read a full review of Christmas trading in the industry, keep an eye out for January’s edition of Meat Management Magazine.