Sales shine in convenience

Shoppers turned to local stores during summer’s sunny spells

WARM weather propped up sales across the grocery sector this summer, but it was the Co-op in particular that had a chance to shine  before autumn’s arrival.

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 9 September reveal Co-op was the second fastest growing multiple, only outstripped by Aldi.

Co-op enjoyed a sales increase of 8.5%, while – in a familiar story – Aldi and Lidl enjoyed strong growth, with sales rising by 13.9% and 8.3% respectively.

Kantar found good weather from June onwards led to consumers shopping locally, to the benefit of the big four’s convenience estate, which saw collective growth of 7.6% year on year for the period.

Summer 2018 also saw a shift in promotional activity, with promos accounting for just 32.4% of grocery sales for the period – the lowest share since June 2009.

Fraser McKevitt of Kantar Worldpanel said: “Retailers are looking to offer consistently lower prices on everyday items rather than one-off deals and they have all reduced promotions as a result.”

Data from Nielsen painted a similar picture for smaller stores, showing that Co-op growth outperformed the big four in the 12 weeks to 8 September.

However, Nielsen found value growth slowed to +2.4% in the four weeks to 8 September, and volume growth for grocery multiples fell back to 0%, as consumers reverted to normal spending habits after a bumper summer.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said: “While there is still pressure on the consumer wallet, we continued to see shoppers spend freely on indulgences, celebrations and events up until the end of August. The hot summer has been a windfall for most food retailers. However, with summer turning to autumn in the last couple of weeks, sales growths have mellowed. Even so, shoppers are maintaining their grocery spend.”