Take home grocery sales in Britain increased by 9.1% in the 12 weeks to 19 April as consumers settled into life under lockdown and stocked up on food and household essentials, according to the latest figures from Kantar.
While grocery sales are high, however, it remains a challenging market for retailers as social distancing restrictions and low footfall will have had a knock-on effect on non-grocery categories.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar said, “Grocery retailers and their staff have been rightly praised for keeping the nation fed and watered during the coronavirus pandemic. People are spending more time at home and eating fewer meals out of the house, which has led to a strong growth in take-home grocery sales.
“But social distancing also means that expenditure on other categories like clothes, food bought on the go and general merchandise will have been considerably lower, so for some retailers, the overall picture will be more modest.”
Year-on-year grocery market growth of 5.5% over the past four weeks is noticeably slower than the 20.6% recorded in March. Nevertheless, sales this month were still £524 million higher than they were in April 2019, a sizeable increase.
The rise is primarily down to changing habits, as people adapt to a new way of living, for example the number of lunches eaten at home has nearly doubled under lockdown.
However, for the grocers the increased sales will have been partially offset by a fall in on-the-go food and drinks sales, which were worth more than £350 million in April last year.