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Retail

UK Supermarkets Experience Busiest Christmas Since 2019, Says Kantar

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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UK Supermarkets Experience Busiest Christmas Since 2019, Says Kantar

British supermarkets reported their strongest December since 2019, with UK shoppers making 488 million trips to supermarkets over the four weeks to Christmas Eve, new data from Kantar has shown.

Overall spend totalled £13.7 billion (€15.8 billion) during the four-week period, Kantar added, with the average household spending £477 (€550.10) across the month, an increase of £22 on the previous year.

“As we expected, this Christmas was a whopper," commented Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

"Friday 22 December turned out to be the most popular shopping day, when just over 25 million trips were made and consumers spent £803 million (€926 million) in physical stores – that’s 85% more than the average Friday in 2023.

"Online’s share of the market held steady at 11.6%, as nearly one in five households got a delivery in for the big day.”

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Inflation Continues To Decline

In addition, grocery price inflation fell to 6.7% in December, its lowest level since April 2022, Kantar noted, adding that despite the reduction in prices, many consumers are still feeling the pinch.

"Nearly one third of all spend in the four weeks to Christmas Eve was made on items with some kind of offer, the highest level since December 2020 and £823 million more than last year," McKevitt added.

Retail Performance

Christmas is generally a time in which traditional retailers outperform their rivals, and according to Kantar, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose accounted for a combined market share of 70% during the 12 weeks to 24 December.

Sainsbury's reached its highest market share for three years during the most recent period, rising to 15.8% share. Tesco continues to lead the market, with a 27.6% share.

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At the same time, however, Lidl and Aldi were the strongest performing retailers during the 12 week period – Lidl increased its sales by 13.8%, while Aldi's sales rose by 9.9%.

Read More: Aldi UK, Lidl GB Report Record Christmas Sales

Analyst Viewpoint

Commenting on the Kantar figures, analyst Russ Mould of AJ Bell said, "Tesco and Sainsbury’s were lifted by Kantar data showing supermarkets had enjoyed their busiest Christmas since 2019 – though the strong showing of discounters Aldi and Lidl demonstrated once again this is an industry with razor sharp competition.

“News of the fastest drop on record in grocery price inflation could pressure revenue growth for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s and will add grist to the mill on calls for the Bank of England to consider interest rate cuts."

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