Retail lacking in Christmas cheer

Festive supermarket spending got off to a sluggish start according to Kantar

SUPERMARKETS did not have quite the merry little start to the festive season that they may have hoped for, according to the latest grocery market share figures.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 2 December revealed that the overall UK grocery market was growing at just 2.0% – its slowest rate since March 2017.

Heralded by some as a pre-Christmas boost to retail, Black Friday proved something of a busted flush for supermarkets, with sales figures for the multiples up a mere 2.1% on the same period in 2017.

Symbols and independents didn’t fare much better with sales down by 5.1% on 2017 figures.

The Co-op was one of few star performers entering the festive season, with sales up 4.5%, although yet again the discounters proved to be the top performers in growth terms.

Both Aldi and Lidl experienced double-digit growth for the period, with Aldi maintaining its position as the fastest-growing supermarket in the UK.

A slow start to Christmas spending was also revealed by Nielsen in its total till figures for the 12 weeks to 1 December.

Nielsen said the slow start to 2018 was not helped by shopper concern over personal finances, with 43% reporting that they felt it was not a good time to spend.

Despite the sluggish start, Nielsen predicted grocery shoppers would spend £7bn in the two-week period ending 29 December.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight said: “It’s been a slow start to Christmas in 2018, and in particular for the grocery multiples.”