It’s just the start of a new month, but we’ve already seen some big stories in the FMCG sector as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. Read below what happened this week and how businesses and consumers are dealing with the pandemic in Australia.
Consumer watchdog ACCC said it will not oppose Asahi’s proposed acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), after it sells some of its cider and beer brands. ACCC previously raised concerns that the deal could lessen competition in cider and beer due to the number of major brands across the two portfolios. The Japanese company will sell Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green cider brands and the Stella Artois and Beck’s beer brands. ACCC chair Rod Sims said the move will be sufficient to address competition concerns.
Australian consumer confidence dropped 9.8 per cent over the past week, the lowest point since the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence began in 1973. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every industry as consumers stay at home and practice social distancing in supermarkets or pharmacies. ‘Current financial conditions’ fell 16.1 per cent. ‘Current economic conditions’ declined by 9.5 per cent, following last week’s 37 per cent decline, which is the weakest component of the survey. While ‘Future economic conditions’ were a bit calmer, falling just 2.4 per cent. ‘Future financial conditions’ was the only positive, gaining 0.6 per cent.
Online retailer Catch.com.au reported a significant increase in sales in recent weeks as more consumers shop online, with traffic to its grocery pages up 467 per cent YoY. Household, pantry, health and baby products were the most popular products. The e-commerce website is now working around the clock to maintain the supply and meet demand during the coronavirus outbreak.
Coles opened three new pop-up distribution centres in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria to meet demand from consumers and will further open more in the future. Coles hired 7000 staff across supermarkets and liquor stores. The supermarket is also looking for Customer Service Agents to deliver online orders, and more than 100 trade-qualified bakers for in-store bakeries.
Woolworths rolled out a A$80 box of basic groceries and Australia Post and other distribution channels will deliver the orders to isolated people faster. The box includes meals, snacks and a few essential items which can be ordered online starting this week in the ACT, NSW and Victoria. Orders should arrive in two-to-five working days and phone support will be available for people who are not comfortable ordering online. Other states will be added in the coming weeks.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy the weekend at home!