Waitrose biggest winner in early Easter boost for supermarkets
The early Easter this year provided a welcome boost to March food and drink sales at the UK's leading supermarkets, new figures have revealed.
The latest retailer performance figures from global information and insights company Nielsen, show that Waitrose was the biggest winner out of the top UK supermarkets due a big increase in its advertising spend and Easter falling in March this year.
In the 12 weeks to 31 March, Waitrose increased its sales by 13.9% while sales at Sainsbury’s rose by 8.2%. Sales at Asda climbed 5% while Tesco and Morrisons grew their sales by 4% and 0.9% respectively.
Nielsen said the key driver of sales, particularly in the last two weeks of March, was a 24% year-on-year increase in TV and press advertising spend to £32.9 million amongst the 10 supermarkets as they geared up to the Easter trading period .
Tesco was the highest spending supermarket on TV and press FMCG advertising in the four weeks ending 30 March with spend of £6.6 million, 41% more than during the same period last year. Morrisons spent £6.4 million, a 34% increase on the same period last year, while Aldi upped its spend by 54% to £5 million.
Waitrose was responsible for the biggest year-on-year increase in spend, up 142% to £2.5 million, followed by Sainsbury's where spend rose by 82% to 2.7 million. Asda was the only one of the top five to reduce TV and press spend compared to the same period last year.
Aggregate sales value growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 30 March 2013 was up 6.2% year-on-year while unit sales increased by 2.5%.
Commenting on the retailers’ performance, Nielsen's Mike Watkins said: "Waitrose’s significant increase in TV and press spend helped attract 11% more shoppers and contributed to stellar sales growths of 19.5% in the last four weeks. Sainsbury’s sales momentum and growth in market share continues, with Asda and Tesco growing sales in line with the overall market over Easter. Sainsbury also just inched ahead of Asda again in market share in the last four weeks, although it remains to be seen if this can be maintained over the next quarter, when trading is so volatile."
Looking ahead, Watkins added: "Three macro trends are shaping the performance of food retailing in 2013: shoppers remain under financial pressure, they are shopping around more and digital shopping is on the up as consumers get better connected."
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