Olympics Feel-Good Effect Boosts UK Supermarket Sales

Contact: Neil Beston, Tel: 020 3103 3959

London, Monday 3 September 2012 – The London 2012 Olympics and finally some proper summer weather helped UK grocery retailers enjoy their best four-week period so far this year, in terms of both year-on-year sales and unit growths.

According to the latest UK retailer performance figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen, aggregate sales growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 18 August was +3.5%* higher than the same period a year ago. Furthermore, unit sales (volume) also increased by +1.7%* year-on-year – reversing an 18 month trend of declining unit growth.

The general feel-good factor from the Olympics and the better weather also contributed to the strong performance of the ‘sharing’ FMCG categories. In the four-week period, Soft Drinks sales increased +10% in value year-on-year (+8% volume), with Confectionery up +8% (+6% volume) , while Crisps/Snacks increased +7% (+6% volume).

However, sales growths in the Ambient Grocery & Household category did remain subdued and General Merchandise growths fell back (-0.3% value and -1.4% unit sales), indicating weak underlying consumer confidence.

Explaining the figures, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins: “Retailers have clearly looked to maximise the sales opportunity around the London 2012 Olympics. Although promotional activity has remained unchanged at 35% of FMCG sales, the continual use of money-off vouchers and coupons has marked a differing approach by retailers this summer. This has helped to increase shopping basket spends and, in return, given shoppers further savings at the checkout.  Tesco, in particular, had some very attractive offers during July and August which will have helped to increase the frequency of shoppers’ visits.”
When looking at the individual grocery retailers, Watkins notes: “The Tesco sales recovery we first saw last month has continued and Tesco has now held market share at 29.1% over the last 12 weeks. Discounters continue to grow sales faster than other food retailers, while Waitrose outperformed with  a stellar sales growth of +12% in the four weeks to 18 August – helped by shoppers spending more per visit on food and drink – making them this period’s winner across the supermarket sector.”

* Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples

12-Weekly % Share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change
Retailer% share, 12 weeks to 18 Aug 2012% share, 12 weeks to 20 Aug 2011% value change vs same 12 Weeks Year Ago

The figures in the table are based on 12 weeks sales through to 18 August 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.