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Sales in the grocery sector slowed as snow swept the country

But sales of cat litter, bird food and salt shot up

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Sales in the grocery sector slowed as snow swept the country

Following a robust December, sales in the grocery retail sector were subdued in January.  As expected, the usual post Christmas lull was further depressed as a result of the January snow.Top line growths for the grocery market for the four weeks to 23rd January stood at +2.4% YoY with Grocery Multiples faring very slightly better at +2.6% (source: Nielsen Scantrack). 

Mike Watkins, senior manager retailer services at Nielsen commented: “The post Christmas hangover was longer and deeper this year with snow and ice disrupting shopping patterns, resulting in less shopping trips being made.  Where shoppers did carry on shopping however, some spending was bought forward into the week ending 9th January as consumers stockpiled.   As a result, sales in the following 2 weeks were more subdued.  Many seasonal lines also came off promotion and this would have impacted sales.  Retailers will need to encourage shoppers to keep spending over the next few weeks to lift momentum.”

He added, “The ‘big freeze’ has thrown up some unusual shopping trends.  In the 3 weeks to January 16th sales of salt increased 128% overall and 185% in convenience stores.  Cat litter was widely recommended as an alternative to grit and sales of this jumped 31% during the snowy weeks.

Sales of basics like tea (+10%), coffee (+8) and soup (+16%) also grew as shoppers stocked up and battened down the hatches.  Convenience stores also benefited from shoppers and commuters staying at home and treating themselves to breakfast.  Slaes of eggs grew +33%, bacon +24%, sausages +33% and Hot Cereals +39%.  And rather heartwarmingly we looked after our wildlife - sales of bird food shot up 73%.”

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