Heatwave Helps Deliver Best Volume Growths in Five Years

Heatwave Helps Deliver Best Volume Growths in Five Years

Total grocery volume sales accelerated to +2.2% over the latest four week period, the best volume growths outside of Christmas and Easter since July 2013, when a heatwave drove a  +3.1% spike in volumes.

Shoppers spent +4.5% more on groceries in the last four weeks to 14th July, as the hottest June in more than 40 years, and the continuation of the heatwave in early July coincided with the feel-good factor of England’s strong performance in the World Cup.

Excluding the discounters, sales at major supermarkets* rose +3.8% and peaked at +8.7% in the week ending 30 June when the current heatwave began. The strong growths during this period came from shoppers buying more fresh foods, beverages and snacks.

Looking at category growths, products for entertaining and dining al fresco experienced the most growth in July, thanks to the unusually warm weather. In particular, Ice Cream sales soared with shoppers spending £144m at supermarkets*, growing +28%.

Fresh Beef Burgers (+35%) and Olives (+10%) both saw considerable growth, aligning with consumers arranging picnics and outdoor BBQs to bask in the weather and celebrate the World Cup. Shoppers also preferred to dine in rather than eat out at restaurants during the hot spell, with Fresh Pizza (+14%), Sushi (+14%) and Prepared Fruit Salads (+10%) also experiencing generous growths.

Convenience stores also saw a boost with sales accelerating to +7%**, as shoppers stopped in at their local shops for last minute top ups, BBQ foods and more. Over the last four weeks, sales at Co-operatives were up by +9% as more than 380,000 new shoppers visited their local stores compared to this time last year.  

Over the 12 weeks ending 14 July, of the top four supermarkets Asda has the most improved growth (+4.2%), followed by Morrisons (+2.6%) and Tesco (+2.3%). Co-operatives also grew by +5.6%, affirming the trend towards convenience.

Table: 12-weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change

The last four weeks have been a strong trading period for food retailers, with volume growths the best they’ve been since July 2013. This is great news for retailers and manufacturers as shoppers are buying more food and drink. It’s also good news that the hot summer weather looks set to continue for the next few weeks, with the hottest days of the year (35 degrees C) expected later this week. With the summer holiday season now truly underway, retailers will be planning inspiring media campaigns supported by compelling in-store promotions, to encourage shoppers to keep spending.

All figures are from Nielsen Homescan Total Till unless otherwise stated.
*Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples
**Source: Nielsen Scantrack Consumer View