Late August bank holiday heatwave lifts grocery sales

The late August bank holiday heatwave lifted total supermarket sales to +2.2% in the last four weeks, according to Nielsen’s Total Till figures for September 2019.

The analytics company said the UK faced a wet start to the summer, but unusually hot weather over the long Bank Holiday weekend led to increased sales. Over the last four weeks, shoppers spent £193m more than they did in the same period last year, with nearly half of this spend at discounters and high street value retailers.

Soft drinks sales were boosted by 5.1%, while the frozen foods and beer, wine and spirits categories saw an uplift of 4.1% and 3.3% respectively.

Shoppers also bought more barbeque equipment, sales of which increased by 127%; suncare sales were up 26%, and ice cream up 17%. Shoppers also spent £5.7m more on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, an increase of 32%.

Nielsen said that despite strong sales for these categories and overall growth, there were “mixed fortunes” for retailers over the last 12 weeks, as all of the top four retailers – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – saw a drop in market share.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business Insight, said: “Momentum has been hard to sustain over the summer as seen in the 12 week trends, but in the latest four weeks there has been strong performance from The Co-op as well as Sainsbury’s which has attracted over 370 thousand new shoppers and is currently the fastest growing top four supermarket.

“We are also seeing sales improve at M&S with new marketing campaigns designed to attract more frequent visits to their food halls and standalone food stores.”

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