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Insight: supermarket checkouts ring up record Christmas

New figures on the grocery market show that growth in the 12 weeks to 1 January 2017 was the fastest since June 2014 as supermarket sales increased by 1.8%.


Insight: supermarket checkouts ring up record Christmas

The figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal that consumers spent almost half a billion pounds more than in the corresponding period in the previous year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explained: “Year-on-year market growth has been helped by comparisons to a weaker Christmas in 2015, but sales were also buoyed by strong consumer appetite for festive celebration after a turbulent year. Shoppers spent £480 million more at the tills than in 2015, leading to record sales for the Christmas period.

“With Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday and giving shoppers more time to buy their final festive trimmings, the single busiest shopping day of the year was Friday 23 December with over half the population braving a grocery store. The typical household spend for December reached £365 this year – £52 more than the average month.”

According to Kantar’s figures, the big four supermarkets accounted for 71.4% of market share, with a sales increase of 0.1% – the first time that all four have collectively grown since June 2014.

McKevitt said: “Tesco’s recent sales revival continued with an increase of 1.3% particularly helped by its performance within fresh food. However, this wasn’t enough to stop its market share from falling back by 0.1 percentage points to 28.2%.

“Morrisons, whose overall sales were held back in 2016 by the impact of a number of store closures, marked a strong start to the year with growth of 1.2% – its first period of growth since June 2015.”

Aldi and Lidl took a slightly smaller share of the market in December than the rest of the year as consumers reverted to traditional retailers during the festive season. Year-on-year, Aldi grew its sales by 11.8% and market share to 6%, while Lidl’s sales growth of 7.5% increased its share to 4.4%.

Sales at Iceland were up 9.6% while sales at Waitrose and the Co-op rose by 3% and 2.4% respectively.

Sainsbury’s saw a marginal sales decline of 0.1% while Asda’s sales were down 2.4%.


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