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Grocery sales remain buoyant despite winter storms and slowing inflation

4th Apr 18 8:16 am

New figures show

Slowing price inflation and the recent Siberian-like weather failed to derail the strong growth rates seen across the UK’s leading supermarkets, according to Nielsen retail data released today.

Even though the bad weather meant the number of visits to grocery stores fell during the four weeks ending 24 March, the amount of items shoppers bought rose by +0.4 per cent¹ year-on-year – the second highest rise since 2016 (excluding seasonality-affected periods). 

As a result, and combined with inflation, shoppers spent 3.3 per cent more on groceries compared to the same period last year (or 2.6 per cent more, excluding the discounters).

“The winter weather in late February and early March certainly disrupted shopping patterns but not enough to knock food retail out of its stride because its underlying health remains strong,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight.

“This is built on the big four supermarkets having adapted well to changing market conditions and consumer behaviour, and the sector has effectively seen 13 straight months of growth above two per cent. This is in stark contrast to non-food retail who are still adapting to their changing marketplace.”

Watkins points out that even though grocery sales in the week of the storms fell 1 per cent, “they rallied by a massive 12 per cent the week after (week ending 10 March) – helped by Mother’s Day – as shoppers returned to the high street.”

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