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Retail Beef Sales Stable

25 March 2011

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Over the last year, while the retail price of beef in Great Britain has remained stable relative to previous years, the retail price of lamb has increased sharply and this has had a significant impact on retail sales.

Figure 1 clearly shows that the retail price of beef is largely unchanged relative to last year and as a result, demand has remained reasonably stable. Demand in the 52 weeks ending 20 February 2011 is slightly higher (+0.6 per cent ) compared to the previous year, and while sales of roasts were down generally over the last year, mince, stewing and frying sales have increased enough to compensate.

However, looking at sales over the 12 weeks to 20 February, compared to the same period last year, the opposite is the case, with roasting joint sales staging something of a recovery in recent months. It is likely that this follows increased promotion of roasting joints with reduced promotional focus on frying / grilling cuts where sales have come under pressure more recently.

Figure 2 provides a very clear illustration of developments in the GB retail lamb price in 2011 so far. At an average price of £8.14/kg prices are 13 per cent higher than last year and this has had a substantial impact on lamb sales over recent months.

Table 1 shows how sales have performed over the last 4, 12 and 52 week periods and it is very evident that the situation with retail lamb sales in GB is becoming progressively worse. The impact on some cuts is more serious than on others. For example, in the four weeks ending 20 February, leg roasting sales were just over half those of the same period last year.

The slightly stronger pork figures provide evidence of consumers opting for cheaper proteins with reduced pork prices year-on-year.

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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