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Sat 16 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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The top five revealed

Retail News Middle East reveals the fastest moving brands and the latest shopper trends across the grocery categories.

Retail News Middle East reveals the fastest moving brands and the latest shopper trends across the grocery categories.

Retail News Middle East gathered the section managers at HyperPanda Dubai Festival City to discuss the hottest selling brands at the store, and the team were united in the conviction that consumers are demanding low prices across the categories.

Shoppers have become more educated on product origins and costs, according to Ramin Ghassemi NIA, produce - fresh food department. Ghassemi said the store's commitment to low costs for fresh items has encouraged repeat custom.

Tomatoes are currently the hottest sellers and "one of the most strategic vegetables in the market right now", he said, and the store has stood apart from rivals by offering the item at 60% lower in price in a broad range of variants.

"When there is market fluctuation for tomatoes, we have a lot of problems with customers. We offer a huge choice including Middle East tomatoes from Jordan and Syria, beef tomatoes, tomato bullets, cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes from the UAE, with the latter proving the most popular.

Procter & Gamble's Pantene has won the attention of shoppers by offering 15 variants, from shampoo and conditioner to creams, and 56 SKUs in-store, and the category has won a 20% share of sales in the shampoo family.

However, Salah Katergi, non-food grocery department said competition has become fierce, particularly after the launch of Unilever's Clear, which has responded to shopper demand for specialist products. "The competition is crazy, especially among shampoos, many of which are P&G. The brands are fighting for shelf space.

Tide is racing ahead on the detergent leader board at this month's selected store backed by its low price and variety of sizes, according to Katergi, yet the section offers extremely low margins.

Dharmendra Karnani, dairy/ frozen, fresh food department, said the plethora of players in the market has kept competition healthy, however Al Marai milks have topped sales in-store. Rino Balan from the beverage grocery department identified Masafi water as the thrilling winner in the beverage category.

I chose Masafi as it's the fastest selling water in the Middle East, and the company organises a lot of promotional activities. There was a 344% growth in sales across the Masafi range between 2006 and 2007.

Shoppers have responded to the brand's innovation in its approach to sizes and packaging, such as sports bottles, cups and the recent addition of peach, strawberry and lemon flavoured waters.

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