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Grocery market growth cools as Christmas nears

Grocery market share figures have cooled in the lead up the Christmas, growing only 2% for the 12 weeks to 2 December 2018, its slowest rate since March 2017.

According to the Kantar Worldpanel consumers are benefiting from falling inflation, which now stands at 1.6%, and is less than half the rate of inflation in December 2017 when it reached 3.6% – leading to a slowdown in the overall market.

The group said during the summer, shoppers upped their weekly trips to the grocers as they took advantage of the hot weather, but with the weather cooling down the number of trips has tailed off – again contributing to waning market growth.

Additionally, Black Friday, which fell on 23 November, saw footfall to the entertainment, toy and electrical retailers nearly double, but had little impact on the supermarkets. While the majority of households did take part in Black Friday, e-commerce trumped bricks-and-mortar shopping for non-fast-moving consumer goods products.

Despite the grocery market slowdown, the group added that Christmas spending is still “expected to break records”. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The last time Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday was in 2012 and the Saturday before was the busiest shopping day of the year. We expect the same trend to hold true this year, with Saturday 22 December pulling in the last minute Christmas crowds.

“Despite an uncertain political climate taking its toll on consumer confidence, shoppers are still willing to spend that little bit extra on more expensive goods. Total premium own-label lines are growing at 5.5%, which could lead to record sales in this price tier of £1.bn over the 12-week period.”

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