Sales growth slows in UK grocery sector, says Nielsen
Sales growths in the UK grocery sector suffered last month as the cold and wet weather compounded unfavourable comparisons with the hot bumper Easter of April 2011, according to the latest retailer performance figures released by insights firm Nielsen.
Headline value year-on-year growth at the UK’s grocery multiples fell by -1.6% for the four weeks to 28 April (down from 4.1% for March), with year-on-year unit growths falling further to -3.6% (from -1.5% for March).
"April was always going to be the most challenging and unrepresentative month for comparisons," explained Nielsen senior manager for retailer services Mike Watkins. "Going back 12 months, the late Easter, Royal Wedding and hot weather all contributed to make April 2011 the high point for food sales last year. And this adverse trend has now been compounded by the recent cold and wet weather.
"We get a clearer view of the underlying trend by comparing the seven days trading to Easter Saturday this year (7 April) with last year (23 April). That period shows just 1.3% year-on-year value growth, which indicates that it was still an exceptional Easter week in 2011 and that consumer demand remains weaker in 2012."
But as the weather turned cold and wet last month, there was good news for some categories. Packaged Grocery four-week sales increased by 9.8% (3.6% volume), while soup sales were up 58% year-on-year for the last two weeks of April.
Watkins concluded: "There was no change in the relative performance of the Big Four grocery multiples. Asda and Waitrose had the best sales growth and are growing market share. Aldi and Lidl also maintained good momentums with sales growths remaining particularly strong in Packaged Grocery."
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