Market report

Food prices fall | Greggs | Walker’s | Abrdn

supermarket food

A battle for shoppers among the supermarkets helped force down food prices for the first time in more than two years.

Grocery inflation slid to -0.1% in September from 0.6% in August, according to the latest shop prices index published by the British Retail Consortium and NielsenIQ.

Lower raw material costs were also being passed on to shoppers, the research found.

Aldi and Lidl have eaten into the traditional big British supermarkets’ market share over the past decade, forcing rivals into more competitive pricing tactics as inflation over the past two years has steered families towards lower-cost retailers.

Greggs grows


Greggs continued to enjoy a strong trading performance over the third quarter of 2023 with total sales up 20.8% and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops rising by 14.2% when compared with the same period in 2022.

Market insight data confirms that Greggs continues to grow its share of the food-to-go market and has maintained its leadership positions in customer satisfaction and value-for-money ratings (source: Circana, August 2023).

The company expects between 135 and 145 net shop openings and see a strong pipeline ahead for 2024.  A fourth production line will be commissioned at Balliol Park in Newcastle upon Tyne in the coming weeks and capital expenditure in 2023 to be around £200 million, supported by a strong balance sheet.

The board expects the full year outcome to be in line with its previous expectations.

Walker’s slows


Profits at Walker’s Shortbread were hit by rising costs in 2022 despite a rise in sales at home and abroad last year.

The Aberlour-based biscuit maker said growth was especially strong in Britain and the US, with group turnover rising by 16% to £164.6 million in the year to the end of December.

Sales in the UK increased by 23% to £77m and exports were up by 10% to £87.6m. The company sells overseas in 100 markets.

However, the company saw its margins eroded by sharp rises in the cost of raw materials and utilities.

There was no update for trading in the first nine months of 2023.


Edinburgh fund manager abrdn has completed the transfer of approximately $4 billion in assets under management and 30 employees to HighVista Strategies, announced in the summer.

The company said a comprehensive business review of its private markets business concluded that the US Private Equity and Venture Capital capabilities would be best developed under a different ownership and management structure.

Stephen Bird, CEO abrdn commented: “The sale of our US private markets business to HighVista is a further step in delivering on our group strategy. We have made strong progress in simplifying our investments business, focusing on products that are right for our clients where we have strength and scale.”

Market close

The FTSE 100 fell to its lowest level for a month as it dropped 40.56 points to 7,470.16. Not even a slide in the value of the pound could lift the index. 

Miners took the brunt of the stronger dollar which pushed metals prices lower. Antofagasta, the copper specialist, fell 45.5p to 1369p, while Anglo American lost 79p to 2157.5p.

A new report from EY revealed a drought of initial public offerings in London. Between June and August, only five companies debuted on the London Stock Exchange, raising £359.8 million in the process. In summer 2022 only eight companies were listed in London, raising £565.5m.

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