BWS sales returned to growth at the end of March 2021 as consumers prepared for the end of the first stage of lockdown.

Sales were up 13% compared to the same week in 2020, according to Nielsen data. The growth swung in favour of grocery multiples, which saw sales rise by 26% as shoppers started the bigger Easter shop. In contrast BWS sales were down via the impulse channel by 14%, in part also because this channel was in demand last year when the pandemic first hit the UK.

Rob Hallworth, Nielsen’s client delivery team leader, also pointed to growth for various drinks categories at the end of March.

He said: “Champagne saw incredible growth of +231% suggesting shoppers were preparing to celebrate the rule of six and upcoming Easter break! RTD saw its biggest week since June 2020 (+66%) also helped by the opportunity to socialise outdoors. Beer performed behind the total liquor category for the first time since the beginning of the year.”

Champagne sales also saw an uplift earlier in March (w/c March 15), most likely driven by Mother’s Day. The uplift can also be attributed to poor sales for Champagne in the same week in 2020, when the first lockdown started.

Gin, which was the best performer last year when lockdown hit, saw sales drop in the same week in March 2021. Flavoured and non-flavoured gin saw a decline in sales of 34%.