Brexit impacts grocery sales

eu flag with fruit and vegetables
Shoppers have already started stockpiling food in the face of uncertainty

POLITICAL uncertainty may be seeping into consumer behaviour and causing people to spend more cautiously, according to Nielsen’s latest grocery figures.

For the four weeks until 23 February, Nielsen found that the average spend per visit had fallen from the same period last year, with consumers spending less against the backdrop of Brexit and economic uncertainty.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said that the change could also be attributed to a “resurgence of ‘little and often’ shopping behaviour”.

This was echoed by Kantar Worldpanel, who found that the Co-op attracted an additional 244,000 shoppers through its doors.

Apparently swayed by the ‘top-up’ convenience shop that the Co-op offers, Kantar found that for the 12 weeks to 24 February, visitors to the Co-op spent £13 million more on fruit, vegetables and salads compared to the same time last year.

The only retailers growing faster than the Co-op were Aldi and Lidl, with a 10% and 5.4% increase on last year respectively.

Tesco, Morrisons and Asda all also saw sales growth, but Asda’s proposed partner Sainsbury’s was the only major supermarket to record a drop in sales.

Like Nielsen, Kantar also found that concerns about Brexit could be influencing shopper habits.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said one in ten shoppers claim to have started stockpiling groceries, and a further 26% said that they were considering doing so.