Total Till UK grocery sales rebounded to +0.6% over the four weeks ending 21 May 2022, which is the first sign of positive growth since the Christmas shopping period, according to new data released today by NielsenIQ.
A spokesman said: “With household budgets squeezed, shoppers are ‘shopping around’ for the best prices and NielsenIQ data shows that it is visits to stores (+7% versus a year ago) which is driving Total Till growth and the improvement in bricks and mortar sales (+2%).”
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The overall growth in sales was also helped by a +2.3% increase in the week ending 21 May, as UK shoppers prepared for the school holidays and the long bank holiday Jubilee weekend, with 20% of households expected to buy extra groceries for the Jubilee weekend.
The statement added: “Overall, while there was an improvement in grocery sales in the last four weeks, NielsenIQ data shows that shoppers spent 1.2% less at UK supermarkets than in the previous four weeks, down to ?10bn from ?10.1bn in April, which benefited from the Easter period. And overall volume sales at the grocery multiples fell 6% also reflecting the squeeze on household budgets.”
“Meanwhile, according to data from NielsenIQ, online sales fell 15% in the last four weeks, but this is a reflection of COVID-19 comparatives in the previous year. The online share of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sales remains stable at 11.7% – compared to 13.7% a year ago and 11.8% in April – and online household penetration is also broadly unchanged at 27% of households. This is now a consistent trend and is an indication that online shopping behaviour has normalised since March.
“Promotional spend fell from 21.5% of value sales last month to 20.4%, similar to this time last year (20.6%) suggesting that there is little appetite from retailers to use volume-based promotions to drive sales when shoppers are looking to spend less on each shopping trip.
Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight, said: “The forthcoming Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend should give a welcome if short-term boost to grocery sales.
“While many shoppers may have been pre-buying items such as drinks and party decorations, the forecasted warm and sunny weather will provide a good trade up opportunity for fresh foods with al fresco dining top of mind for shoppers. While this helps superstores with their breadth of range, convenience stores are also likely to benefit from impulse purchasing as they always do when the sun shines.”
Mr Watkins continued: “Shoppers are becoming more considered in what they buy and the current challenge for supermarkets is to improve volume growth by getting more items into the shopping basket.
“The upside for supermarkets is that shoppers may be more inclined to dine in at home as budgets get squeezed. Inflation is also moving the dial in the General Merchandise category and with around 35% of General Merchandise sales at supermarkets coming from clothing which has strong value credentials, this may present an opportunity as shoppers return to stores and shop around this summer to save money in discretionary categories.”