Convenience retailers could be missing out on £100m-worth of lost grocery sales due to sought-after products being out of stock.

The startling claim comes from Heinz in its latest Grow Grocery category management initiative. The company found that despite reports of a ’credit crunch’, convenience and impulse category shoppers are spending more on groceries than this time last year. Its figures reveal that the average grocery shopper spends £7.92 per visit on grocery items compared with £7.59 a year ago. However 5% of grocery shoppers are currently failing to buy a product in store with the main reason being that the particular product they want is out of stock.

Heinz said the grocery category accounts for 7.5% of sales in the convenience and impulse channel. It is valued at £2bn so if 5% of grocery shoppers fail to buy grocery within convenience this equates to the £100m loss for the channel.

Heinz customer business development manager, Simon Digby, said: "The grocery category is in great health with more shoppers coming through the doors and spending more per trip in the convenience and impulse channel. However our research has shown that they are not buying what they intended. And if they can’t find the products they want, they won’t pick an alternative but will go elsewhere. Retailers need to think about the implications of this and should realise that far from being low-value, distress-purchase shoppers, their grocery customers are lucrative shoppers who buy into other categories."