Food and drink retailrs enjoy a bumper Xmas

10 January 2018

The average UK household spent a record £1,054 on groceries in 12 weeks to 31 December 2017, according to the latest grocery market share figures from analyst Kantar Worldpanel.

 The data showed a record £469m was spent on premium own label lines in December, with chilled items, fresh meat and bakery featuring prominently.

Mince pie sales rose by 13.2% year-on-year and alcohol sales grew by 5.1% year-on-year, with spirits up 7.6% as consumers favoured gin and whisky.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Overall sales increased in value by 3.8%, with an additional £1bn ringing through the tills compared to the same festive period last year.

“For most of the year, location tends to be the most important factor in choosing where to shop, but over Christmas customers are actually prepared to travel further in search of specific festive products or better value.”

The research found that among the retailers, Aldi and Lidl are level pegging in the battle to be the nation’s fastest growing supermarket, both growing sales by 16.8% year-on-year.

Tesco was the fastest growing of the big four supermarkets, with sales up 3.1% during the past 12 weeks.

Convenience stores benefitted from restricted Sunday opening hours for larger supermarkets on Xmas Eve and were able to capitalise on consumers preferring to shop closer to home immediately before Christmas Day.

Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Despite what were arguably the toughest festive trading conditions in a generation, Christmas still provided a boost for all the major supermarkets with shoppers absorbing rising prices to treat themselves.

“Interestingly, 2017 was the first year in 11 that Christmas Day fell on a Monday. As a result, shoppers spread the pressure of buying their last minute fresh goods over a whole weekend, easing the strain both on them and on supermarkets’ supply chains.”

Richardson added: “Heading into 2018, retailers will be hoping that a good Christmas will be a springboard to a strong 2018.

“Consumers are undoubtedly more price conscious than they were at the start of last year but the supermarkets will be increasingly confident that, having succeeded in keeping shoppers spending over the past 12 months, they can keep that going throughout the coming year.”