Grocery beats beastly storm

Edinburgh in snow

GROCERY sales in UK supermarkets beat the weather in February and March to maintain strong growth, according to the latest monthly sales figures from Nielsen.

The report identifies three categories that benefitted best: beers, wines and spirits saw a 7% year-on-year rise in sales during the four week period ending 24 March, frozen foods rose 5%, and packaged groceries increased by 4%.

In contrast, according to the report, fresh produce sales fell by 2%.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, explained: “The winter weather certainly disrupted shopping patterns but not enough to knock food retail out of its stride.

“This is built on the big four supermarkets having adapted well to changing consumer behaviour, and the sector has effectively seen 13 straight months of growth above 2%.”

Over the twelve weeks ending 24 March, Nielsen says Tesco had the most improved year-on-year performance among the top four supermarkets, with sales up 3.1%, followed by Asda at 2.9%.

Iceland, up 3.9%, had the best growth outside the discounters.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 25 March, show that grocery sales have increased in value by 2.5% compared to this time last year.

Aldi and Lidl continue to enjoy eye-watering growth figures, with both discounters continuing to expand market share at pace. 

Growing sales by 10.7%, Aldi now has market share of 7.3% while Lidl now has a 5.3% share of the market. When these shares are combined, the discounters are topped only by Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

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