Sales of beer, wines and spirits in the off-trade fell in the four weeks to June 15, as wet weather dampened performance.

According to the latest data from NIQ, BWS unit sales fell -8.9% in the period, compared to the same four weeks in 2023 when the country experienced a heatwave.

Overall, NIQ’s Total Till data showed sales at UK supermarkets slowed at +1.1%, compared to +12.1% the prior year. Besides the weather, NIQ also said another contributing factor to this comparison is that food inflation had just peaked (+14.6%) this time last year .

Channel performance also felt the impact of the wet days as shoppers were more inclined to shop for groceries online rather than in the stores, NIQ said. In the four weeks, in-store sales were down (-0.9%) while there was an increase (+3.7%) in online sales, boosting the channel’s share of FMCG sales to 12.6%, an increase from the 12.2% reported a year ago. Conversely, convenience store sales were “particularly weak” at -5.1%.

NIQ data over the last 12 weeks showed that the discounter market share remains at 18%, with sales at Lidl (+8%) growing ahead of Aldi (-1%). However, Aldi had the “highest growth of any retailer” this time last year. Both retailers are still attracting new shoppers and also more visits, NIQ said, but their average spend per visit is down compared to this time last year.

In the same period, NIQ found that Ocado (+12.6%) continued to outperform all retailers and M&S (+7.1%) also gained market share.  Sales at Sainsbury’s (+4.7%) and Tesco (+4.1%) increased which saw the retailers also gain market share. While Morrisons’ market share is “down slightly” to 8.4%, the retailer has seen a +8% increase in FMCG spend per visit over the last 12 weeks, NIQ found. Asda (-4.9%) “still has the weakest performance”, the report said.

Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “The grocery sales uplift in June compared to May was much softer than this time last year which had the hottest June on record. Whilst the growth trends through to mid June look stark, we can now expect a lower level of growth for a number of months to come as we cycle through high inflation comparatives. We remain hopeful that current warm weather and England’s success at the Euros may boost sales of drinks and snacks.”

Watkins added that discounter market share has plateaued. He said growth for the rest of the year will be more dependent on new store openings and encouraging more visits. “This will be needed to counteract some of the spend gained during the high period of inflation, which is now drifting back to supermarkets and may well continue over the next six months.”

He went on to say that the year-to-date growth at the grocery multiples had slowed to +2.6% in terms of value and +0.8% in terms of unit/volume. “We expect this low growth to continue,” Watkins said. “This means that the volume trend is now going to be more important than value sales growth as an indicator of the current health of food retail over the next few months.”