After a slow start to the year, the warm weather this summer has been critical for bringing momentum to the retail sector in the lead up to the second half of 2018, according to Nielsen data released today. The last four weeks alone brought industry growth of +4.2%.
During the last 12 weeks, the big four supermarkets (Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco) saw more shoppers, visiting more often and spending more at each visit as a result of the warmer temperatures and the prolonged heatwave. In the last week of July, when the hottest days of the year were recorded, retailers experienced the best growth of the four week period ending 11 August.
According to Nielsen, value and volume growths are expected to remain positive going into H2, painting a very different picture to the same period last year where volumes were in decline.
Over the last four weeks, volume growths at supermarkets improved to +2.9%, up from +2.2% in the previous four weeks. Two thirds of this additional purchasing came from growth in soft drinks and fresh fruit and vegetable sales.
Soft drinks, in particular, saw massive growth during the last four weeks, with value growth up +29% and volume growth up +20%. Fresh fruit and vegetables also saw considerable growth for the category, with value growth up +4.4% and volume growth up +4.6%.
This is contrasted with Nielsen’s July Total Till results, particularly during the World Cup, where sales of fresh meat and alcohol were up as consumers opted for barbecues and parties to celebrate England’s success. But as the football tournament came to a close and the hot weather persisted, shoppers swapped steaks for salads to cool down from the July heat.