Grocery sales dip amid further lockdown relaxation

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Grocery sales dip amid further lockdown relaxation
The current average of 14 shopping trips per month per household is lower than it was last month but still up on April and May.
// Shoppers returning to supermarkets more regularly despite new mask rules
// Morrisons was the winner in terms of sales growth and market share increase
// Overall, customers spent £9.7bn over the past four weeks, the lowest level since February

Shoppers are returning to supermarkets more regularly than at the height of the pandemic but are spending less on each trip, according to new data.

Morrisons was the biggest winner among the Big 4 in terms of sales growth and market share increase for the 12 week period ending August 9, while Asda saw the biggest fall, according to the latest grocery sales and market share data from Kantar.

Overall, customers spent £9.7 billion over the past four weeks, the lowest level since February, although this is higher than pre-pandemic levels with restaurants and the hospitality sector remaining significantly subdued.


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However, shopping trends are shifting towards healthier options, with sales of vitamins and minerals up 34 per cent, herbal teas up by 19 per cent, and nuts up 21 per cent – although this was offset by alcohol sales rising 28.3 per cent over the past four weeks.

“The relaxing of rules across much of the country means shoppers are less inclined to stock up their cupboards with regular large trips,” Kantar consumer insight director Charlotte Scott said.

“That has seen average spend drop below £25 for the first time since March. However, at £24, it is still a world away from the pre-Covid average of £19 per trip.”

She said the current average of 14 shopping trips per month per household is lower than it was last month but still up on April and May.

“The number of supermarket trips was two million lower than would have usually been expected in the week after the rule was adopted, and currently just over half of shoppers say they feel safe in stores,” Scott said.

“That suggests the public may need time to adjust to the new regulations, and they now have to plan ahead for every shopping trip.”

Online food shopping hit another new record in the four weeks to August 9, with 13.5 per cent of all sales now ordered online, Kantar said.

Ocado has been the biggest winner with growth of 45.5 per cent over the 12-week period, although it still only accounts for 1.8% of the entire grocery sector.

“With the country officially entering recession last week, atypical behaviours are likely to continue,” Scott said.

“During a recession we would generally expect shoppers to manage their spend more carefully.

“Early evidence suggests that most are not yet choosing to trade down, with brands and premium own-label lines currently performing well; however, price cuts have increased compared with July as some people look for opportunities to save.”

She also suggested the exclusion of alcohol from the UK Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, to encourage consumers back into restaurants, helped keep in-store sales up during the period.

Morrisons was the fastest-growing Big 4 retailer, with sales up 16 per cent, driven by a particularly strong performance from its supermarket stores – accounting for 10.2 per cent of the market.

Tesco’s market share fell 0.4 percentage points to 26.6 per cent, Sainsbury’s share was 14.9 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points this month, and Asda lost 0.6 percentage points, taking it to 14.3 per cent, according to Kantar.

Elsewhere, Iceland was the second fastest-growing retailer at 29.2 per cent, with its market share increasing to 2.4 per cent.

Co-op increased its share to 7.1 per cent, with growth of 22.4 per cent.

Lidl remained steady at 5.9 per cent, while Aldi and Waitrose both lost 0.2 percentage points, taking them to 7.9 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

with PA Wires

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