Press Room

Early July heatwave helps supermarket sales bounce back

Largest sales rise for 18 months outside Christmas and Easter
Sales volumes increase for eighth consecutive period

London, 31 July 2015. The searing temperatures in early July helped the UK’s leading supermarkets to the largest monthly year-on-year rise in sales – outside Christmas and Easter – since November 2013, according to the latest data from global information and insights company Nielsen. 

The value of sales at the tills increased +0.4%¹ during the four weeks ending 18 July 2015, versus the same period a year ago. (The last time this was higher – excluding these seasonal spikes – was 1.7% in the four weeks ending 9 November 2013.)

Sales volumes increased +0.2%¹ – the eighth consecutive monthly year-on-year rise.

“The positive figures were driven by the early July heatwave which contributed to a startling 4% rise in sales in the week ending 4 July,” says Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins. “However, sales weakened when cooler conditions returned – a reminder of how dependent, in the short term, retailer and category performance is on the weather.”

Drinks leading the charge

The impact of the summer weather was reinforced by Soft Drinks (+3.9% rise in year-on-year sales), and Beers, Wines & Spirits (+3.1%) seeing the strongest category growth, aside from General Merchandise (+4.6%).

Also, Fruit & Vegetables – a category that’s experienced some of the deepest price cuts over the last year – returned to positive sales growth (+0.2%) for the first time in 12 months. However, price cuts and deflation continue to impact other categories, with packaged Grocery (-4.2%) and Dairy (-3.8%) seeing the biggest falls in sales value.

Morrisons again only one of Big Four not to lose share

During the 12 weeks ending 18 July, Morrisons’ sales nudged up 0.1% year-on-year – being the only one of the top four supermarkets in each of the last three periods to see sales growth.

For the fifth consecutive period, Asda had the biggest decrease in year-on-year sales among the top 10 supermarkets – down 3.2%.

It was better news, however, for Co-operative retailers which returned to year-on-year growth for the first time in four periods (up 0.5%). Watkins comments: “Their strategy of tapping into consumers’ ‘little and often’ needs has attracted new shoppers whilst also continuing to encourage more repeat visits to their convenience stores.”

Lidl biggest spender on TV and Press advertising for fifth consecutive month

For the fifth consecutive month, Lidl spent the most on TV and press advertising – £4.4 million² in the four weeks ending 18 July 2015 (222% more than the same period last year). Asda (£4.1 million) and Tesco (£3.4 million) followed next.

“Lidl’s sales growth has accelerated again following increased media spend on its signature Shop a Lidl Smarter campaign,” explains Watkins. “These ‘taste test’ ads communicate quality and low-price, and they’re having an impact. Lidl is gaining new shoppers, has an increased spend per visit and, in recent weeks, has increased the number of items purchased in its stores.”

All figures are from Nielsen Homescan Total Till unless otherwise stated
¹Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples
²Source: Nielsen Ad Dynamix

About Nielsen Homescan Total Till

The Nielsen continuous 14,500 GB household panel is geo-demographically balanced and designed to measure household purchasing through a wide range of channels. It includes all food and drink and non-food spend (e.g. household, personal care, clothing, electrical, cards and stationery, toys, music, general merchandise, etc.) It represents the total amount paid (after all coupons and vouchers), found on the till receipt.

About Nielsen Scantrack

The Nielsen scanning service that measures total store sales every week by SKU for 15,000 shops across all food and drink trade channels in GB. This uses the actual EPOS data from retailers, thus, Scantrack is the most robust and reliable measure of FMCG sales and is integrated with Homescan for the key indicators of retailer and category performance. The total market measured is £145bn per annum. ‘Grocery Multiples’ is a defined sub-set of the major supermarkets that also includes all food sales from Marks and Spencer (but excludes Aldi and Lidl). The Grocery Multiples account for over £121bn of all GB food, drink and supermarket general merchandise sales.

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 and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

More information

Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
Tel: 020 3544 3570
Mob: 0780 313 1144

Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
Tel: 020 3103 3959
Mob: 07770 644136