// Sainsbury’s is the only Big 4 grocer to record sales growth over last 12 weeks
// Tesco recorded a dip of 0.8%, Asda was down 1.2% and Morrisons fell 2.0%
// Sainsbury’s said the growth was helped by new shoppers and more visits
Sainsbury’s became the only one of the Big 4 grocers to record year-on-year sales growth in the last 12 weeks, while rivals lost market share to German discounters Aldi and Lidl.
Sales at Sainsbury’s rose 0.3 per cent, while market leader Tesco recorded a dip of 0.8 per cent, Asda was down 1.2 per cent and Morrisons fell 2.0 per cent, according to Kantar.
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Sainsbury’s said the growth was helped by new shoppers, more visits and the launch of “Nectar Prices”.
Sales at Lidl grew by 10.5 per cent thanks to new store openings since Christmas 2019.
Meanwhile, Co-op recorded a sales growth of 2.4 per cent, Marks & Spencer grew 1.3 per cent and Iceland 1.7 per cent.
Separate data from Nielsen found that despite the wet and windy weather causing some short-term disruption mid-month, sales during the week ending February 15 grew 1.6 per cent.
“British grocery retailers will be pleased that since experiencing the lowest growth over the Christmas period since 2014, it appears that we are finally starting to see the green shoots of improvement,” Nielsen UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight Mike Watkins said.
“Whilst consumers remain uncertain about their spending intentions, the results from Valentine’s Day prove that they continue to ‘trade up’ for events and are still willing to spend on premium food and indulgences.
“In particular, gifting for Valentine’s Day was robust, as was the traditional ‘dine in’ alternatives.”
Valentine’s Day boosted sales in a number of categories in the last four weeks, including confectionery which was up 4.8 per cent, bath and shower products up 11 per cent and pre-mixed alcoholic drinks increased 10 per cent, according to Nielsen.
Brits spent over £104 million on fresh cut flowers for Valentine’s Day – £2.3 million more than last year – and over £26.5 million on gift cards, an increase of 13 per cent over last year.
Meanwhile, Kantar found that sales of hand sanitisers increased by 255 per cent in February while liquid soaps grew by seven per cent as customers scurried to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak.
Watkins said: “Despite dominating headlines, the impact from the spread of the coronavirus has so far been limited, at this point restricted to a growth in sales for multi-purpose surface cleaners, which are up eight per cent over the last four weeks.”