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Sales volumes at supermarkets rise for seventh straight month

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Morrisons sees second consecutive year-on-year rise in sales

London, 3 July 2015. The volume of items purchased from the UK’s leading supermarkets increased year-on-year for the seventh consecutive month, according to the latest data from global information and insights company Nielsen. 

Sales volume increased +0.3%¹ during the four weeks ending 20 June 2015, versus the same period a year ago, whilst the value of sales at the tills fell -0.3%¹ – the third consecutive monthly year-on-year decline.

“Deflation is taking the edge off sales growths but supermarkets are still seeing sustained, albeit small, growth in volumes,” says Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins. “One third of shopper spend is on promotions and price-cut items.  This level of promotional activity encourages shoppers to visit more often but does mean spend per visit is down a little on last year at many supermarkets.”

Watkins adds: “It’s slightly disappointing to see the current levels of growth, considering the improving economic environment, rising consumer confidence and ongoing retailer price cuts.  However, shoppers are simply savvier these days and remain cautious, so supermarkets have their work cut out to stimulate growth – not easy in one of the most fiercely competitive environments.”

Morrisons’ momentum continues

During the 12 weeks ending 20 June, Morrisons’ sales jumped 1.4% year-on-year – being the only one of the top four supermarkets in each of the last two periods to experience a growth in sales.

Morrisons’ shoppers spent 4.0% more per visit than a year ago. In contrast, average spend per visit across the supermarkets as a whole dropped 1.5%.

Asda saw the biggest decrease in year-on-year sales among the top 10 supermarkets – down 3.8%.

“Asda is falling behind its peer group, in contrast to Morrisons where things are looking encouraging. Sainsbury’s performance remains broadly the same whilst Tesco’s fall in sales is now slowing,” says Watkins.

“Looking ahead, the early part of July is set for good weather – good news for food retailers and many brands,” says Watkins. “This encourages shoppers to spend more, with increased visits and larger basket spends, particularly in fresh, chilled and impulse categories. This is likely to benefit the Big Four, which have a greater depth of range in their larger stores.”

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

For the fourth consecutive month, Lidl spent the most on TV and press advertising – £4.1 million² in the four weeks ending 20 June 2015 (153% more than the same period last year).

Lidl’s ads continued to focus on their low prices for everyday items but saw more exposure given to the “Shop a Lidl Smarter” messaging.

Iceland had the biggest increase in ad spend – up 445% to £2.7 million.

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