Methodology FAQs

Understand how we bring about the data you see in Retail Analysis

Our approach post coronavirus


The coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on the World’s markets. We have adjusted our approach to provide increased emphasis on near-term predictions to 2022, supporting your planning needs with a considered view of what the future could hold.

What is Datacentre?


Datacentre provides key figures and forecasts to help build strong business plans. It covers over 300 of the world’s largest retail groups, and almost 1,000 operations globally. Our interactive tool makes it quick and easy to create customised data reports for the retailers, markets and channels. Our global retail analysts ensure the numbers are robust and reliable.

How do you build your numbers?


Our primary research sets us apart, as our retailer and supplier relationships enable us to get to know markets from the ground up. We build insights through our global research and market visit programme.

We combine this with research using a range of secondary sources, including company reports, releases and filings, analyst briefings and research notes, regulatory bodies and global news services.

Our figures are based on published retailer results, with an estimate for channel/format breakdowns (as not all retailers provide this breakdown).

Our market size is modelled using data from national statistics offices, so we have a common methodology across all the countries we cover.

On what basis do you forecast future performance?


When we forecast, we look at past performance in each market and channel, how that market and channel are evolving, and how economies are expected to behave. From this, we project five years into the future, considering impacts on competitors’ relative positions.

We use retailers’ published annual reports and press releases, combined with a variety of other sources, including our own contacts around the world and our experience of visiting retailers and their stores. Our primary measures are sales, stores, and space.

Timings and financial years


Financial years differ between retailers and are usually determined by legacy and their home market. French retailers, for example, often reflect calendar year, while Australian retailers often run to the end of June and UK retailers often end in April.

For consistency, we record data against the calendar year that the majority of the retailers’ financial year occurred in. For example, if a retailer’s financial year ran from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, we would record the sales against 2016 in Datacentre.

What timings are used when updating retailers’ data?


We aim to update numbers for significant retailers one month after they publish their results. This may take longer for smaller retailers.

How can I tell which numbers are actuals and which are forecast?


Retailer data is typically updated up to a month after the retailer publishes its annual results. This will take longer for smaller operators. Check the ‘Retailer profile > Financial performance’ page or the retailer’s latest news on Retail Analysis for information on when the announcement was.

You can also contact the team at [email protected] — we’ll check in with the research team responsible for that retailer.

How are different currencies recognised?


Where possible, we record financial performance data in domestic currencies. The exchange rates are updated on an annual basis, using the average prices for the year. Constant exchange rates are used for the future years apart from in the cases of countries with high inflation, where exchange rate forecasts, based on the IMF’s projections, are applied instead.

Note that these exchange rates may differ from those used by retailers, and therefore lead to differences to published figures.

Do you cover all retailers?


We aim to include the key retailers in every market we cover, though there will be some we don’t track (for example, we do not include traditional markets, independent or small-scale retailers).

However, we are always working to improve Datacentre, so please contact us if there’s a retailer you would like to see.

How are retailer relationships reported?


Companies operating grocery stores have many different organisational structures. We use a standardised approach to manage this variation:

  • The business entity that ‘goes to market’, i.e. the sales generating unit, is termed the ‘retailer’
  • A retailer might be an entire company, such as UK grocer Morrisons, or it might be one part of a far larger organisation. Rossmann, for example, is part of AS Watson
  • The top level of the tree may directly run some retail operations, or be a holding company, with two or more subsidiaries which do have retail operations. For simplicity, the holding company will not be used where it only manages a single retailer subsidiary, e.g. Hutchison Whampoa is the parent of AS Watson, but because all its retail operations are held within AS Watson, we regard AS Watson as the effective parent

How are mergers and acquisitions reported?


To avoid duplication, we assign the acquired business to its acquirer for full years of trading, on an estimated annualised basis.

How are franchise partners reported?


Franchise partners are retail companies that have entered into a franchise agreement with another group (e.g. Majid al Futtaim is a franchise partner of Carrefour, and Dairy Farm in Hong Kong is a franchise partner of Seven & I Holdings). The data will be presented under both the franchisor and the franchisee.

How are joint ventures reported?


To avoid duplication, data is only assigned to the majority shareholder within a joint venture.

The UK market and channel sizes in Datacentre differ from those in some of your presentations — why is this?


The two are not comparable, due to differing methodologies and definitions.

The annual reports mentioned here are produced to show a total channel/market view, including estimates for retailer sales not currently tracked in Datacentre. IGD’s Datacentre figures are based on the specific retailers we track. For example, independents are not included and not all symbol groups or forecourts are accounted for under the convenience channel in Datacentre.

These UK reports include VAT and exclude fuel, whereas Datacentre excludes VAT and includes fuel.

Datacentre is updated when retailer results are published so will hold the most up to date information on specific retailers.

For an overall view of the UK grocery market and channels, use our presentations; for a detailed view of retailers around the world, use Datacentre.

What are your food discounter (e.g. Aldi and Lidl) figures based on?


They are estimates, as these private companies do not publish detailed results. We get sales figures from their press releases once a year.

Kantar and IGD market shares – the difference


We publish our own annual market shares – click, and select a pre-set report (either Retailer Overview or Country Overview). You’ll see ‘Grocery Market Shares’ as an option in the second drop down.

The size of ‘other’ is made up of other modern retailers we don’t track, as well as traditional trade.

Separately, we reproduce Kantar’s UK market shares for 12 week rolling periods; visit UK Indicators.

IGD’s market shares differ from panel-based or till-roll market shares (e.g. from Nielsen, Kantar Worldpanel, etc.) due to different methodologies. One known difference is that Kantar figures are based on shopper survey results, whereas IGD uses national statistics and published retailer results (please contact Kantar to discuss its methodology).

Do you have foodservice market numbers, and how do you calculate them?


We do! Our UK foodservice data comes from primary research, drawing on our operator and supplier relationships, combined with research using secondary sources, including trade publications, surveys, company reports and national statistics.

Our primary measures are: number of outlets, number of meals, purchase value, and sales value by sector. We combine this with a top-down view from national statistics, and the effect of macro-economic conditions on out-of-home food and drink consumption.

We refresh our data annually, and project five years into the future.

We share the data through insight reports in our Food-to-go section. Alternatively, we can provide you with specific figures (fees apply) – email us at [email protected].

What is included in your like-for-like (LFL) sales?


Like-for-like refers to the trading performance of the same stores (i.e. excluding new stores) and includes online (retailers generally wrap online sales into their like-for-like sales, even though these aren’t in-store sales). Like-for-like data excludes fuel and VAT for all, except Sainsbury’s.

Do you have like-for-like (LFL) sales data for retailers and markets outside of the UK?


Whilst we have like for like sales data for UK retailers, we do not have like-for-like sales for all retailers across all other markets — Kantar Worldpanel produces this.

Do you have historical data?


Datacentre provides an 8-year historical view across a number of key measures.

Broadly, IGD’s research typically takes a more forward-looking view, and we have forecasts out to the next five years.

In Datacentre, what assumptions are made for other operators not broken out in the ‘total grocery retail market’ figure?


Our Total Grocery Retail Market figures represent the total annual consumer expenditure on grocery by country, which would include retailers not tracked in Datacentre and traditional formats. The grocery market figures are modelled using data from official statistical sources (IMF, World Bank, Eurostat, USDA etc).

Can IGD provide volume data?


No, retailers do not report this metric. Data agencies such as IRI, Nielsen or Kantar may be able to help.

Do you publish category mix by retailer or a view of their sales breakdown by category?


Data agencies (Nielsen, Kantar and IRI) would be best for this level, as they do till roll data by operator. We cover category sales in our annual UK convenience research.