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UK supermarket sales growth drops from +6.4% to +1.4%
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UK supermarket sales growth drops from +6.4% to +1.4%

Despite the continuing good weather, year-on-year sales growths at the UK’s leading supermarkets fell back sharply due to the comparison with last summer’s London 2012 Olympics – according to the latest retailer performance figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen.

Aggregate sales value growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 17 August 2013 was +1.4%* year-on-year. For the previous four-week period (ending 20 July 2013), year-on-year sales value growth was up +6.4%* – a rate comfortably ahead of any ‘non-event’ four week period in the last two years.

Unit sales (volume) decreased -1.8%* year-on-year, compared to a +3.0%* increase year-on-year during the previous four weeks.

Explaining the figures, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins: “Both value and volume growths have taken a hit and this is mainly due to the comparison with last summer’s Olympics coupled with the lowest food inflation rate in three years (+2.2% in July).

“Shopper confidence – previously weak – has now stabilised, and any small improvements in household budgets are being targeted by food retailers keen to promote their point of difference and gain share, particularly in discretionary spend areas such as impulse food and drink categories.”

Waitrose outperforms the leaders; Sainsbury’s sales momentum continues

Despite a slower market, Waitrose (+9.9% value year-on-year), M&S (+6.8%) and Sainsbury (+5.1%) delivered good sales performances in the 12 weeks ending 17 August.

Aldi (+23.7% value year-on-year) and Lidl (+7.5%) continued to gain market share and the average spend per visit across these discounters has now reached £16, which compares favourably with the £20 average spend per visit at the leading supermarkets. Both Aldi and Lidl continue to develop strategies that encourage repeat shopping from new customers acquired during the last few months.

Looking ahead to September, Watkins notes: “With shop price inflation anticipated to stay around +3% and consumers remaining cautious on spending – but still willing to purchase affordable indulgences – regular promotional activity will remain key to increasing sales in the absence of any seasonal events.

“Consequently, we anticipate a ‘growth dash’ by the top four supermarkets involving a continuation of money-off vouchers and fuel discounting as ways to stimulate frequent shopper visits in the run up to October’s half term, which traditionally marks the start of pre-Christmas advertising campaigns.”

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

  % share, 12 weeks to 17/08/2013 % share, 12 weeks to 18/08/2012 % sales change vs. same 12 weeks year ago
TESCO 28.8% 28.9% 3.9%
ASDA 15.9% 16.2% 2.2%
SAINSBURY 15.7% 15.7% 5.1%
MORRISONS 10.7% 11.1% 1.6%
CO-OPERATIVE 7.3% 7.5% 1.7%
WAITROSE 4.4% 4.2% 9.9%
MARKS AND SPENCER 3.6% 3.5% 6.8%
ALDI 3.1% 2.6% 23.7%
LIDL 2.0% 2.0% 7.5%
ICELAND 2.0% 1.9% 6.1%

The figures in the table are based on 12 weeks sales through to 17 August 2013 compared with the same 12 week period ending in 2012

Source: Nielsen Total Till, Nielsen Homescan

*Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples


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.

More information:

Neil Beston
PR director, UK & Europe
neil.beston@nielsen.com