Living cost crisis hits

Shoppers seeking cheaper baskets

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A household budget squeeze could see more shoppers seek out promotions.

GROCERY sales have taken a hit, as consumers start to feel the pressure of food price inflation.

Over the 12 weeks to 23 January, Kantar found a 3.8% fall in take-home grocery figures compared to the same period from 2021, but was still 8% above pre-pandemic levels.

Kantar acknowledged that the year-on-year figures “reflect a tough comparison” against the high demand of the lockdowns at the start of 2021, but also said many consumers will be “striving to keep costs down” by searching for cheaper products and promotions.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Like-for-like grocery price inflation, which assumes that shoppers buy exactly the same products this year as they did last year, increased again this month.

“Taken over the course of a 12-month period, this 3.8% rise in prices could add an extra £180 to the average household’s annual grocery bill.”

One channel not suffering from a sales decline was online grocery. NielsenIQ data for the four weeks to 29 January revealed online grocery increased its market share to 13.1% – up from 11.3% in December.

Mike Watkins, UK head of retailer and business insight for Nielsen IQ, said: “Our latest data shows a continued resilience in online grocery shopping and rising sales at convenience stores in recent weeks.

“This suggests that shoppers are continuing to adopt omnichannel shopping habits, now that all remaining restrictions are lifted.”