Supermarket sales grew by only 0.7% in January 2020, down from 3.3% in 2019, according to new data released from Nielsen.
According to the data firm, value sales since Christmas fell at the grocery multiples by 0.3%, with volumes also down 1%. This was exacerbated by inflation, which was only up by 1.6%.
Nielsen said the continuing mild winter weather was also “not enough” to give a seasonal boost, with volume sales of traditional ambient grocery products down by -2.8%.
However, it said there was “reasonable value growth” in soft drinks (+2.8%), crisps and snacks (+2.6%), and confectionery (+2.2%). Beer, wine and spirits also recovered from a poor December, with an uplift of 2%.
Nielsen’s data also showed that sales were weak at all of the supermarkets over the last 12 weeks to 25 January, with the only growth coming from Marks and Spencer (0.1%), Iceland (1.1%) and the Co-operative (+2.6%).
Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “We know that shoppers are always more conscious of their spending after Christmas, yet this behaviour is impacting the basket more so now than last year.
“Overall, the number of items purchased per trip is less than last January, resulting in lower supermarket spend – even if visits to stores are up.”
He added: “Little and often’ is still the underlying shopping behaviour, and with shoppers less inclined to spend on a big shop, sales at the Co-op and other smaller store formats, were more buoyant.
“Although sales have continued to increase at the discounters, growth at Aldi has fallen behind Lidl, and whilst they are both attracting new shoppers and visits to stores are up, they face the same pressures as the rest of the industry in maintaining spend per visit.”