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Supermarkets benefit from July heatwave

The July heat wave helped the UK’s leading supermarkets to achieve sales growth of almost twice that achieved during the London 2012 Games, according to figures released by global information and insights company Nielsen.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Supermarkets benefit from July heatwave

Aggregate sales value growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 20 July 2013 was 6.4% year-on-year, a rate comfortably ahead of any ‘non-event’ four week period in the last two years. For the previous four-week period ending 22 June 2013, year-on-year sales value growth increased by 2.3%.

Unit sales rose by 3% year-on-year, compared to 0.1% growth during the previous four weeks.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins explained: “The supermarkets basked in the heat and in growth levels not seen for some time, as shoppers stocked up on fresh foods and refreshments. The increased visits and incremental spend was enough to compensate for the weaker performance of ambient grocery and household.”

When looking at category growths soft drinks put in the strongest performance with 27% value growth year-on-year. This was followed by beers, wines and spirits with growth of 16% and frozen foods which saw an uplift of 14%.

Watkins said: “At the height of the heat wave, the week ending 13 July, an extra seven Olympic swimming pools worth of bottled water were sold compared to the first two weeks of July 2012 – worth an extra £15 million. Consequently, bottled Water overtook Cola as the largest Soft Drink sector by volume.”

Produce, chilled delicatessen food, and crisps and snacks also experienced strong growths. However, packaged grocery, confectionery and household goods all saw falling sales compared to the same period a year ago.

Among the 10 leading UK supermarkets, Aldi achieved the biggest increase in sales in the 12 weeks ending 20 July  with 28.8% value growth year-on-year, followed by Waitrose (+11.5%), Lidl (+8.7%) and Marks & Spencer (+8.6%). 

Watkins added: “Waitrose and M&S, in particular, benefited from shoppers’ appetite for fresh foods in July, as did Sainsbury, who also increased market share in the last four weeks. Aldi’s momentum continued, both in attracting new shoppers and significantly increasing spend per visit.

“More frequent visits to local neighbourhood stores also helped boost sales at Co-operatives in the last four weeks. Tesco and Asda, with a mix of store formats and online, had solid topline growths, however, they didn’t benefit as much from the surge in spend that the summer weather delivered for some other retailers.”

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