A soft landing for retailers after the summer of games

Contact: Neil Beston, Tel: 020 3103 3959

London, Monday 26 September 2012 – The afterglow of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a mini heat wave in early September combined to help sales at UK grocery retailers, according to the latest retailer performance figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen.

During the Olympics, aggregate weekly sales growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets peaked at +4.0%* compared to the same week a year earlier. Post-Olympics, sales growths during the four weeks ending 15 September stabilised at +2.5%* and unit sales (volume) also increased by +1.1%* year-on-year.

In particular, Waitrose and Sainsbury enjoyed good sales growth in this four-week period of +7.5%** and +5.6%**, respectively. Interestingly, during the seven weeks ending 10 September Sainsbury’s media spend increased by 98%*** year-on-year to £3.8 million (excluding the Channel 4 sponsorship) – driven by over £1.2 million spent on its Paralympic advertising.

The good growths experienced by many categories in the previous four-week reporting period (ending 18 August) have continued. The categories over-performing the most during the four weeks ending 15 September included Soft Drinks, sales up +10% in value year-on-year, Crisps/Snacks (+9%) and Produce (+7%).

The better weather also helped sales in Fresh Foods categories, such as Delicatessen, which was up +5%. Frozen Foods also did well – sales values were up +4% (+3.5% volume) year-on-year – as shoppers took advantage of strong promotions in this category to keep tighter control over shopping bills.

Explaining the figures, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins: “After a traumatic first six months of the year, there is some good news. Whilst value growths are lower than this time last year – due to a low point in inflation – unit growths have been in positive territory for the last 10 weeks and sales volumes in all categories have improved since last year.

“Significantly, the multiples have maintained their level of promotional activity throughout the summer, which continued at 35% of sales during the last four weeks, encouraging the cautious shopper to spend more. Retailers will be hoping this sales momentum, generated around London 2012, will keep going during the run up to Christmas.”

* Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples
** Source: Nielsen Total Till
*** Source: Nielsen Media

12-Weekly % Share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change
Retailer% share, 12 weeks
to 15 Sep 2012
% share, 12 weeks
to 17 Sep 2011
% value change vs same
12 Weeks Year Ago
TESCO29.1%29.2%2.8%
ASDA16.2%16.2%2.7%
SAINSBURY15.7%15.7%2.7%
MORRISONS10.9%11.2%-0.1%
CO-OPERATIVE7.4%7.6%0.9%
WAITROSE4.2%3.9%8.7%
M&S3.5%3.5%3.9%
ALDI2.6%1.8%47.0%
LIDL2.0%1.9%7.2%
ICELAND1.9%1.9%2.3%

The figures in the table are based on 12 weeks sales through to 15 September 2012 compared with the same 12 week period in 2011.  Source: Nielsen Total Till, Nielsen Homescan

About Nielsen Homescan Total Till:
Unless otherwise stated, data is based on all purchases, bar-coded and non bar-coded, brought back into the home from any outlet by an in-home scanning panel of more than 14,500 households. Total spend includes all items stocked by any outlet, including grocery, general merchandise and clothing.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.