UK sees grocery boom as shoppers hit stores early

Grocery sales rose by 11.3% in the 12 weeks ended 29 November 2020, the fastest rate of growth since August, according to the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar.

It comes as consumers have reportedly started their Christmas shopping early this year in preparation for the festive season. 

In addition, take-home grocery sales during the past four weeks increased by 13.9%, as eating and drinking out of home was restricted by the second national lockdown.

The three days before non-essential retail and hospitality closed on 5 November were “especially busy”, with grocery sales up by 17% that week. Amid higher consumer confidence, Kantar said that November was the single largest month ever for the supermarkets, with £10.9bn spent over four weeks in total. 

Looking ahead, December is “likely to surpass that”, as UK shoppers are expected to spend close to £12bn in the supermarkets this month, which is around £1.5bn more than last year.

Kantar added that Christmas has given shoppers a “much-needed cause for celebration”, which continues to push grocery sales. Some 42% of consumers said they want to “make this the best Christmas in memory”,  and “use more time at home to go big on festive revelry”. 

Sales of turkeys are up by 36% on last year, while more than £11m has been spent on Christmas puddings. In addition, restrictions on pubs and restaurants have seen alcohol purchases rise by 33% against last year. 

Looking at individual supermarkets, Waitrose sales rose by 13.2% in the last 12 weeks, which marks its fastest rate of growth since 2005. The retailer now accounts for 4.9% of the market.

Meanwhile, Lidl reached a new record market share of 6.2%, as sales grew by 13.9%. Co-op growth increased to 9.8%, as it maintained a market share of 6.3%, while Aldi sales rose by 7%, with a 7.7% share of the market. 

In addition, Morrisons sales rose by 13.7%, with a market share of 10.3%, while Sainsbury’s share remained steady at 15.7%, with sales up by 10.8% in the last 12 weeks. Tesco and Asda sales rose by 10.4% and 7.7%, respectively. 

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