British consumers are showing signs of wariness about a second nationwide lockdown being imposed, as take-home grocery sales accelerated by 10.6% in the month of September, according to data from Kantar.
Over the 12-week period to 4 October, take-home grocery sales were up 9.4%, the research firm said, amid fears over rising COVID-19 transmissions.
While there is only 'limited evidence' of consumer stockpiling at present, sales of toilet roll rose by 64% and flour by 73% in the week commencing 21 September, indicating that consumers are somewhat anxious about new restrictions.
“The seven days from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 September were the busiest since March, with 107 million trips recorded, but that number was nowhere near the 175 million seen just prior to the first national lockdown," commented Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
In terms of the best performing supermarkets, market leader Tesco (26.9% share) saw a 9.2% increase in sales in the 12-week period to 4 October, with second-placed Sainsbury's (14.9% share) seeing a 6.8% increase.
Asda (14.4% share) saw a 5.4% increase in sales, while Morrisons (10.1% share) was the best performing of the Big Four, with a 11.5% increase in sales.
“New Tesco CEO Ken Murphy took over the reins at Britain’s biggest supermarket in October, with positive news to report – Tesco maintained its market share year on year for the second period in a row," said McKevitt.
"Frozen, an early focus for the retailer’s Clubcard-only promotions, was the single fastest growing food category for Tesco. Asda, which welcomed new owners this month, saw sales grow by 5.4%, but its market share fell to 14.4%.”
Other strong performers included Ocado (1.8% share), which posted a 41.9% increase in sales, frozen foods retailer Iceland (2.3% share), which saw sales surge 17.3%, and Lidl (6.1% share), which saw sales up 11.7%.
“Ocado has increased the number of shoppers using its service in the latest period – the only retailer to do so – adding 22,000 customers," said McKevitt. "Its new partnership with Marks & Spencer is no doubt part of the appeal."
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.