The prices in the supermarket have now stabilized. Butter, milk and mineral water last became more expensive weeks ago. The price of butter is even falling now. Nevertheless, the pressure on supermarkets and discounters is increasing. FOCUS Online says why autumn will be particularly violent for retailers.
Germany is saving and cutting spending.
Instead of buying branded products, consumers choose their own brands from Aldi Süd, Aldi Nord, Lidl, Penny, Netto or Norma. The supermarkets feel it too. Sales are declining, there is buying frustration among Germans.
And it could get worse.
“Behind the scenes, supermarkets and discounters are preparing for the heavy negotiations in autumn,” says an insider in an interview with FOCUS Online. While these negotiations only begin in late summer, scraps are already flying behind the scenes.
It’s about the prices.
Brand manufacturers in particular want to adjust these, based on inflation. “Sometimes it’s about price increases of eight to 20 percent,” the expert continues. “Popular products could then become more expensive in the coming year.”
Retailers categorically reject such price developments. In a specific example, it has now been delisted.
Ritter Sport stopped delivering new products to all Lidl and Kaufland branches because there was apparently a dispute over prices. The manufacturer wants more sustainability and announced price increases. Lidl and Kaufland are not going along, now the dispute is escalating, there is a delivery stop.
The “Lebensmittel Zeitung” first reported on the delistings (paid content). Neither Lidl nor Ritter Sport wanted to comment on the background.
In an interview with the industry service, Lidl only commented that there would be “many alternative products” on the market that customers could fall back on. At Ritter Sport, it was explained succinctly that Lidl and Kaufland would not sell chocolate in the new packaging.
It’s not an isolated case.
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For a while, Milka chocolate was not available from either Edeka or the sister discounter, Netto Marken-Discount. Here, too, it was apparently about price adjustments that retailers did not want to go along with.
In another example, Edeka hasn’t sold PepsiCo products for many months. If you want to buy Schwipp Schwapp, 7-Up or Pepsi, you have to go to Rewe, Lidl and other supermarkets. According to information from FOCUS Online, chip varieties of Lays and Lays Bugles have also been affected since February. Edeka and Netto Marken-Discount rely on alternatives and put other brands on the empty shelves.
Zewa products, including moist toilet paper and handkerchiefs from Tempo, were also removed from the range in February because the manufacturer Essity imposed a delivery stop. The Zewa range was only available to a limited extent for the Netto and Edeka markets. In this case, too, it is about the conditions and sales prices. At least the kitchen roll “Zewa wisch und weg” is now available. In a few branches there are also handkerchiefs or moist toilet paper from the manufacturer.
Delistings and delivery stops are measures to exert pressure. But there are no clear winners. On the one hand, retailers are losing sales and manufacturers have to fear for market share because the empty shelf space is being taken up by competing products. Customers also have to adapt. They no longer find their favorite products.
As a rule, manufacturers and dealers give in at some point and return to the negotiating table together to renegotiate conditions.
Another example shows that a dispute can also escalate. For example, Edeka has been in dispute with Eckes-Granini since September 2021. Since then, the supermarket giant has not sold any Granini, Hohes C or Fruchttiger in its branches. Edeka replaced all of the juice manufacturer’s products with its own brand. However, the bottles looked very similar to those from Eckes-Granini.
Industry experts had already emphasized that the condition negotiations, which take place every autumn, will intensify. Among other things, these discussions deal with which products are sold at which prices and under which conditions. The shelf space, displays and special offers are also discussed here.
The purchasing manager of a large German supermarket chain warned that well-known suppliers were planning double-digit price increases. They explained the adjustments with the higher production, packaging and delivery costs. For dealers, however, this is a disaster. Higher prices reduce the profit margin and also lead to a drop in sales.
Own brands will also play a much more important role in the talks on terms and conditions this year.
“If brand manufacturers set it too high, it may be that Rewe and Edeka then say: ‘Okay, you’re out, we’ll put our own brand on your shelf’,” says an insider. The supermarkets thus keep the margin high and can increase the pressure on brand manufacturers.
At the same time, the focus is on the price in view of the high inflation and the low purchasing power of the customers.
In this expensive phase, every retailer wants to sell cheaply and achieve a good margin. Manufacturers, on the other hand, are seeing raw material prices rising and sales falling. They want price increases.
If it is delisted, consumers only notice it very late. As a rule, the storage areas are emptied, then gaps in the shelves follow and the areas are then filled with alternatives.
If you don’t want to do without your favorite products, you have to look around and then look for the products.
Beverage stores, for example, have juices and soft drinks from different manufacturers on offer on the shelves. In addition, they usually deliver the goods directly to your home for a small fee.
If there is no dog or cat food, pet supply stores can help. A visit to the drugstore retailer is worthwhile for hygiene articles, kitchen rolls and toilet paper.
Discounters can be a cheap alternative for food from brand manufacturers. Aldi, Lidl and Penny in particular offer special brand discounts at the weekend, which can only be found in the range for a short time.
Consumers can benefit overall in the expensive phase.
Rewe, Kaufland, Lidl and Aldi are increasingly trying to lure Edeka customers into the branches with offers. In the past few weeks alone, six large supermarket chains have offered discounts on Pepsi or Coca-Cola. At Lidl there was Schwip Schwap and other Pepsi soft drinks for 59 cents. The bottles were available from Penny and Rewe for 69 cents.
FOCUS Online advises: Look more in the weekly brochures of the supermarkets for offers.
Prospectuses are mailed out weekly, often between Thursday and Saturday. In some regions, the magazines can be found in your local city or weekly newspaper. Be sure to remove any “No Ads Please” stickers from the mailbox.
It is more practical to leaf through the brochures online: FOCUS current brochures