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Retail

UK Grocery Sales Boosted By Heatwave, Inflation, Data Showed

Grocery sales in the UK increased by 4.4% in the four weeks ended 16 July as the summer heatwave encouraged shoppers to spend more on food and drinks, according to the latest NielsenIQ Homescan Total Till data.

Sales of fresh food and beverages increased in this period, with sandwiches (+24%), mineral water (+28%) and ice cream (+24%) seeing higher demand.

Elsewhere, sales of prepared salads increased by 18% and prepared fruit by 14%.

Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said, "Shopping around is now a key coping strategy for households, who are looking to save money. However, with the start of the summer heatwave, we’ve seen UK consumers shopping more often, which has led to a stronger trading period over the last four weeks.

"The improvement in top-line sales growth is a combination of increases in inflation, but also some incremental spend due to the weather. But overall, volumes at UK supermarkets are down which is no surprise given that three quarters (75%) of households have noticed that their normal weekly grocery shop is costing more than it did six months ago, while 34% are cutting back on their grocery purchasing."

Volume Sales Decline

Volume sales fell 4.1% in this period, with significant declines in packaged grocery (-6.4%), household items (-8.1%), and meat, fish and poultry (-9.4%)1 as households managed their weekly grocery shopping budget, data showed.

According to a recent NielsenIQ Consumer Outlook study, 49% of UK consumers said they are feeling less secure about meeting day-to-day expenses within the next six months.

In addition, 90% are increasingly watching what they are spending, with 62% saying that food and grocery costs are one of the highest causes of financial concern, second only to the cost of utility bills.

Watkins added, “The worrying pressure on sales volumes is expected to continue throughout the summer period and exacerbated due to the holidays, with more Brits travelling abroad than last year.

“This means that the key battleground for retailers will be on who can attract the most shoppers with inspiring media campaigns to build on the ongoing shopping trend to shop little and more often. This will be important for sustaining growth when shoppers revert to their usual shopping patterns after the holidays and importantly, cope with even higher household bills.”

Other Trends

In the non-food category, sales of luggage increased by 38%, suncare 125%, with sales reaching £50 million in the four weeks ended 16 July.

NielsenIQ data also showed a continued sales recovery in health and beauty products (+13%) as well as a rise in pet food and pet care products (+11.9%).

In-store visits increased by 10% compared with the same period last year and was up by 7% compared with June of this year.

Online sales continued to decline and fell by 10.5% compared with the same period last year, but its share of sales remained broadly stable at 11.5%.

Read More: FMCG Prices Up By 6.9% Across Europe: NielsenIQ

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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