A combination of good weather, a bank holiday weekend and the Euro 2020 football championship have all contributed to grocery sales remaining high in the UK, according to Nielsen, despite tough comparatives with last year.
Over the four-week period to 19 June, grocery sales at UK supermarkets were down 2.4%, indicating that stores continue to drive high sales volumes despite lockdown measures easing.
In the same period last year, sales were 14.4% higher than the previous year, indicating that shoppers continue to spend far more at the tills than they did in 2019.
Retail Category Performance
According to Nielsen, category performance has shifted in conjunction with a change in the weather – delicatessen sales grew +13.5%, while soft drinks (+12.3%), bakery (+8.7%) and crisps, snacks and nuts (+4.1%) also grew.
In decline, meanwhile were frozen (-9.3%) and packaged grocery (-12.8%), while beers, wines and spirits fell 4.4% due to the reopening of the hospitality sector.
Some pre-coronavirus shopping habits are beginning to be re-established, with shoppers visiting stores more often – up 15% compared to the same time last year, according to Nielsen. However, online remains strong; despite a 6.9% decline in online spend in the most recent four weeks, online retains an elevated market share of 13.1%.
Separately, Kantar also recently noted that UK shoppers are beginning to inch back to their old shopping habits
“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," commented Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ's UK head of retailer and business insight.
He added that the combination of 'staycations' for many UK families this summer, coupled with 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," he said.
Last week, Britain's CBI said that retail sales were up for the month of June. [Pic ©Tupungato/123RF.COM]