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British Shoppers Splash Out as Christmas Countdown Begins

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British Shoppers Splash Out as Christmas Countdown Begins

British Shoppers Splash Out as Christmas Countdown Begins
December 19
09:34 2017

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks to 3 December 2017, show supermarket sales increased in value by 3.1% year on year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “With Christmas just around the corner, prices are still rising. Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.6% – it’s highest level since 2013.

“Despite higher prices the British public is well into the swing of festive shopping. Alcohol sales are up by nearly £172 million compared to this time last year and while volume sales have increased, this impressive growth is mainly a result of consumers choosing more expensive festive tipples. Gin, whisky and sparkling wine all saw significant growth: up by 26%, 10% and 7% respectively as shoppers pushed the boat out. Still small but growing rapidly, non-alcoholic beer is the new kid on the block this Christmas – growing sales by 27% during the past 12 weeks.”

Aldi reclaimed its crown as Britain’s fastest growing grocer during the latest quarter, with sales up 15.1% year on year. Fraser McKevitt continues: “This performance places the retailer marginally ahead of Lidl, which grew sales by 14.5% during the past 12 weeks. Aldi saw notable successes in the chilled aisle, increasing sales of convenience products like ready meals and desserts by an impressive 40% year on year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Aldi’s Specially Selected line was the UK’s fastest growing premium own label brand during the past 12 weeks, enjoying a healthy sales increase of 25%. Meanwhile Lidl’s market share increased by 0.5 percentage points to stand at 5.1%. This was helped by a strong performance from well-known brands, which currently account for 11% of the retailer’s sales.”

The biggest four grocers saw collective growth of 1.9% during the past 12 weeks, making this the ninth consecutive period of increasing sales for the UK’s largest retailers. Tesco – with sales up 2.5% compared to this time last year – was the fastest growing of the four.

Despite its market share falling by 0.1 percentage points to 28.2%, Tesco remains Britain’s most-visited retailer – welcoming 21 million households during the latest quarter.

Sainsbury’s grew sales by 2.0% year on year, with its market share falling to 16.3%. Meanwhile Morrisons’ market share fell to 10.6%, despite a sales boost of 1.4% year on year. Sales also grew at Asda – up 1.2% – with market share down by 0.3 percentage points.

Waitrose and Iceland both increased sales, up by 1.6% and 1.3% respectively. Co-op’s sales fell by 1.5%, taking market share down 0.3 percentage points to 6.0%.”

As the snowy weather turns the nation’s thoughts to mince pies and turkey, the supermarkets are now also fully focused on the critical Christmas trading season. Fraser McKevitt explains: “Christmas day falls on a Monday this year – last time that happened, in 2006, the Friday before was the most popular day for grocery shopping that year. If we see a similar pattern in 2017, Friday 22 December is likely to win out as the grocers enjoy not only the biggest shopping day of 2017, but the most successful ever recorded. Over Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December, we expect shoppers to part with an eye-watering £1.5 billion as they fill their trollies ahead of Christmas day.”

Although online grocery sales growth has slowed considerably to just 2.8% during the past 12 weeks, it is still likely to be a record December for grocery e-commerce. Internet specialist Ocado grew ahead of the online market during the latest quarter. Sales were up by 5.2% as market share remained flat year on year at 1.3%.

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