According to data from the four weeks to 7 October, total till sales at UK supermarkets were 9.1% higher, which is largely in line with retail food inflation (+9.9%).
Volume sales were just 0.4% lower, which indicates that shoppers are taking advantage of retailer price cuts, particularly those available as part of loyalty programmes, NIQ added.
“There has been an improvement in volumes purchased over the last four weeks," commented Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight. "This is a reflection that this time last year the pressure was growing on household incomes as inflation was accelerating in fuel, energy, and food.
"But it may also be an indication that some shoppers are now feeling more confident about their personal finances. If so, this would help sustain growth over the forthcoming half term period and may give a further boost in early November as seasonal advertising campaigns start.”
Online Sales Up
In-store sales were up 8.1% in the four-week period, but online sales rose 10.8%, and now account for 11% of total FMCG sales, NIQ said.
Those that have chosen to shop online cited being able to to save money (51%) and time (48%) as the reasons for their choice of channel, it added.
Inflation is still affecting a number of categories, such as confectionery (which saw value sales up 12%), frozen (+9.1%) and crisps and snacks (+9.0%).
At the same time, volume sales are improving in fruit, vegetables and salads, which saw a category increase of 3.6%. In particular, there was a boost to unit sales for raspberries (+35%), strawberries (+33%), and vine tomatoes (+20%), NIQ noted.