• Total Till grocery sales for the four weeks to 19th June remain broadly unchanged at -2.4% , whilst growth over the last 12 weeks is flat (-0.1%), indicating that supermarkets are holding sales levels well amid lockdown restrictions 
  • A late May bank holiday, combined with a short heatwave at the beginning of the month and the start of Euro2020 all contribute to grocery sales in key categories
  • Online sales fall -6.9% but this is in the context of a +111% growth this time last year

Total Till grocery sales at UK supermarkets remain largely unchanged at -2.4% in the last four weeks ending 19th June, indicating that supermarkets continue to drive high sales volumes despite the UK lockdown easing, reveals new data released today by NielsenIQ. This is a strong performance, as during the same period last year, NielsenIQ recorded the second highest four weekly growth of 2020 (+14.4%).

A late May bank holiday weekend, combined with a short heatwave and the beginning of Euro2020 all helped to maintain grocery sales, which remained flat (-0.1%) over the last 12 weeks.

Category performance also shifted in response to changes in weather. For example, delicatessen sales grew +13.5%1, with soft drinks (+12.3%), bakery (+8.7%) and crisps, snacks and nuts (+4.1%) all increasing as shoppers sought to enjoy the weather and entertain in small groups. This is in contrast to sales for frozen (-9.3%) and packaged grocery (-12.8%), whilst spend also shifted away from beers, wines and spirits (-4.4%) as indoor drinking and eating returned.

Data from NielsenIQ reveals that online grocery sales declined by -6.9% over the last four weeks ending 19th June. However 8 million shoppers – equal to 28% of all households – continue to shop online every four weeks, indicating that this is a ‘sticky’ habit, likely to remain at a much higher level than before even as we emerge from restrictions. Online share of FMCG sales is currently 13.1%2.

NielsenIQ data also shows that some pre-covid shopping behaviours are beginning to be re-established, with shoppers continuing to visit stores more often, up 15%2  compared to this time last year. As a result, the average spend per visit  has reduced by 15% to £17.2 from £20.4 a year ago.

In the last 12 weeks to 19th June, food sales at M&S increased 11.3%. Growth was strong at Discounters but this was also driven by new store openings, particularly in the case of Lidl where sales increased 20.4%. Moreover, Sainsbury’s was the only grocer of the ‘big 4’ to have grown market share in the last 12 weeks. Sales for the Co-operative and Iceland remain in decline as a result of Covid-19 comparatives, but the increase in visits to these retailers continues to mirror the market.

Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight, said: “With some lockdown restrictions still in place, British consumers have maintained spend at UK supermarkets, with sales remaining relatively buoyant over the last four week period against the high spend during the lockdown last year.  Staycations for most families this year and the anticipated relaxation of remaining restrictions in July, are expected to be catalysts to a change in retail spend.  Whilst more food spend will shift back to hospitality, the increase in seasonal travel and families and friends finally able to join together without restrictions, will give an added boost to food and drink categories at supermarkets.”

Table: 12-weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change

Unless otherwise stated all data is NielsenIQ Homescan Total Till

1 NielsenIQ Scantrack Grocery Multiples

2 NielsenIQ Homescan FMCG

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