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UK grocery sales continue to increase

RBR Staff Writer Published 05 April 2018

Grocery sales in the UK increased by 2.5% compared to same time around last year, in spite of adverse weather conditions disrupting shopping.

Dubbed the Beast from the East, the cold wave played havoc with with consumers’ usual shopping plans, a report from Kantar Worldpanel stated.

In the run up to and during the cold snap, shoppers bought 4% more groceries on an average, increasing the value of each visit to a store from £14.99 to £15.80. 

But, they simultaneously visited 5% less often, which meant that overall lost sales from the storm were lessened to £22m. Shoppers bought more of warming foods and drinks.

Hot beverages, tinned soup grew b 8.4% and 27.5% respectively over the past month, stated Kantar Worldpanel.

Early Easter this year compared to last year could have also been a motivating factor for consumers, who started their Easter weekend shopping last month.

Kantar Worldpanel retail and consumer insight head Fraser McKevitt said: “Despite average prices jumping by 35p to £1.83, Easter eggs were rolling off the shelf in March with sales up 69% compared to this time last year. 

“Almost 15 million shoppers picked up Easter eggs last month while the average household, tempted by promotional offers, was swayed into buying at least two Easter eggs to meet their seasonal chocolate fix.  Hot cross buns also saw a steep rise, with sales up £7.7m compared to this time last year.”

Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl were among the ones who saw highest sales during the period. Their sales grew by 10.7% and 10.3% respectively.

McKevitt said: “Aldi and Lidl are continuing to disrupt the market.  As the discounters proceed with the expansion of their store portfolios, over the past 12 weeks 63.5% of all households visited at least one of the retailers.”

Kantar Worldpanel also stated that in the past 12 weeks Tesco’s sales increased by 2.4% to hold a steady market share at 27.6%, which is claimed to be the first time it held the share since December 2016. The retailer was visited by an additional 262,000 customers and it saw the sales growth of branded goods being overtaken by own-label groceries for the first since June 2015.

Morrison’s sales increased 2.4% and its market share increased by 10.4%. Waitrose’s sales are said to have increased by 1.5% year-on-year and Co-op’s sales increased by 0.1%.

While some retailers saw their sales increasing, there were also retailers which experienced fall in sales. Asda’s market fell back by 0.2% to 15.6%. Sainsbury’s market share also fell by 0.3% to 15.8%, despite registering sales growth of 0.6%.

Image: Cold wave in the UK hardly affected grocery sales. Photo: Courtesy of nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.