Grocery sales slow down but BWS stays buoyant

Supermarket sales have slowed as shoppers settle into new post-lockdown shopping routines, but alcohol sales continue to outstrip the market.

Figures from Nielsen show that total grocery sales in the four weeks to August 8 were ahead by 7%, compared to just 1% growth during the same period in 2019. Nielsen said hot weather and staycations had contributed to summer 2020 sales growth.

BWS sales increased by 20% in the four weeks to August 8, 2020, outperformed among the bigger grocery categories only by baking products such as flour and sugar.

Nielsen said the total grocery data for the post-lockdown period showed that online shopping accounted for 97% of the extra £678 million spent by UK consumers this year.

Over the four weeks, in-store sales growth was just 0.3%, compared to a 117% increase in online.

Among the big four supermarkets, Morrisons saw the biggest overall growth in sales at +13.6%. Iceland (+24.4%) had the strongest growth overall.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: "It is evident that some new shopping habits that developed as a result of the pandemic – such as opting to shop online – continue.

“UK shoppers are now establishing a new, regular shopping routine and we can expect the current levels of growth to continue for the rest of the summer.

“Shoppers are still shopping less often than they did prior to the pandemic. Visits to stores are down 15% on the same period last year, but up from the 22% decrease registered in May, so there are signs of a willingness to return.

“The shift to online grocery shopping, which looks set to stay, is the most dramatic change of shopping behaviour we’ve ever seen.

“Though it has clearly been a positive gamechanger for shoppers and some retailers, it has come at the expense of stores, something that we have already seen in non-food retailing.”


 

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