Weber MD John Cooper has looked ahead to 2012 for the Gafa Spoga blog and is "bullish" about the future of barbecue sales Europe-wide.
Cooper said: "The barbecue market has so much potential it's amazing. All of Europe is very undeveloped so we will be growing the market. It's not just a case of taking others' share. The potential is there just from taching people to barbecue properly. That's why we do so much education. In Norway the non-disposable barbecue market is as big as the UK but it has six million people rather than 60m. So the market is certainly not restricted by cold, wet or dark.
We're expecting the market to at least double in the next five to seven years in the UK and central Europe."
Cooper added that the barbecue market is exciting for garden centres because it is not mature.
Drivers include staycationing, events such as the Olympics and the UK Queen's diamond jubilee.
He said: "From our perspective, early indications for 2012 are very positive. We're pleased with pre-season so far. Retailers have to be ready for an early start as in the last two nyears. April was our best month of 2011. We're bullish but we are seeing the market diverge. The top end like us is doing ok and the bottom end is doing ok. It's the middle ground that is being squeezed. that's typical in any recessionary period."
Carrefour could sell its 50 per cent stake in franchisee Altis to fund part of its takeover of its main franchisee Guyenne & Gascoyne.
Britain is top of online purchasers in Europe with 79 per cent buying online. The Netherlands is second with 74 per cent. Some 46 per cent of Britons use mobile phones to buy online, doubled in 18 months. Germany has 73 per cent buying online, Sweden 71 per cent, France 70 per cent, Spain 37 per cent and Italy 27 per cent. Research is from Ofcom.
Shoppers will spend 40 per cent in town centres, 32 per cent in out of town malls, 16 per cent in local stores and 12 per cent online and by mail order by 2014, suggest studies by BIS and Verdict.