Nielsen Restates Market Data With Few Changes

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Nielsen Restates Market Data With Few Changes

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The adjusted syndicated data is confined to a small subset of Nielsen's convenience store numbers.

NEW YORK — Following repeated inquiries from manufacturers, clients and analysts, Nielsen, the data and information firm that tracks food, mass, drug and convenience store sales, issued restated convenience store channel data to address problems with its calculation methodology.

According to Nielsen, the changes in product category data are minor and are due to recent enhancements the company has made in its c-store database. The company restated the data on Dec. 26.

The company sent Convenience Store News the following explanation:

"Over the past year, Nielsen has invested in and demonstrated an ongoing commitment toward providing the industry with a more robust read into the U.S. convenience retail marketplace to help our clients make better and faster decisions. Following recent enhancements implemented within our convenience retail measurement universe, isolated instances of data volatility have been detected in our enriched convenience store data, affecting data released since Oct. 15. Nielsen delivered adjusted syndicated data during the week of Dec. 24. The identified instances are confined to a small subset of Nielsen's convenience store read. Nielsen's All Outlets Combined (xAOC) market read has not been affected."

Wells Fargo Securities LLC equity research analyst Bonnie Herzog noted in an investment report on Wednesday that the restated data continued to show cigarette volume declines exceeding 7 percent in the recent four-week period ended Dec. 15 vs. the 7.8-percent average decline since Nielsen revamped its databased in mid-October to include 4,000 additional c-stores.

For beer, Herzog reported the restated data show beer volumes trending in the negative 2-percent range in the recent four-week period "which reflects no material difference from previous periods at the category level."

For energy drinks, the restated data show energy volumes still trending in the 6-percent growth range in the recent four-week period — again reflecting no material difference from previous results at the category level, according to Herzog.

"While we are unclear why the restatement had no significant impact [Nielsen is still looking into it], we suspect it could boil down to Nielsen's sample universe [vs. methodology alone]. We note that continued pronounced weakness in Nielsen is also at odds with what our retailers are seeing," Herzog said, pointing to the latest Wells Fargo's Tobacco Talk survey of Nov. 26.