Press Room

Black Friday wasn’t good news for supermarkets

However, extra day’s trading in week up until Christmas means year should end on a high note

London, 13 December 2016. After a brief recovery, UK supermarket sales fell for the first time in five months due to a combination of Black Friday impacting non-food purchases, and falling prices as the Christmas offers kicked in.

Nielsen retail performance data released today, for the four-week period ending 3rd December, shows money taken at the till (-0.4%¹) and the volume of goods sold (-0.3%¹) both dropped versus the same period a year ago – the first time this has happened since mid-July. 

The value of General Merchandise sales dropped 4.3% which Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said “was partly a result of shoppers being distracted by heavily-advertised Black Friday deals by non-food retailers, particularly online. This meant supermarket trips were more focused on food and drink.” 

Supermarkets also saw less takings as baskets were cheaper due to stores starting their Christmas promotions – 29% of sales were on promotional items – and further regular price cuts.

Even the discounters’ weren’t immune – Aldi’s annual growth dropped into single figures (8.5%) for the first time in four years, whilst Lidl’s 2.7% was six times smaller than its growth rate this time last year.

“After a strong start to November, shoppers’ seemed to have held back on food spend in the last few weeks, despite some the very attractive Christmas offers and price reductions,” notes Watkins. “However, we expect momentum to pick up again and the week ending Christmas Eve will be a massive opportunity for the big four supermarkets to regain market share.”

Nielsen estimates shoppers will spend around £4 billion at supermarkets in that week alone, with Thursday 22nd expected to be the biggest day of the year. “It’s not been a great year for the leading supermarkets but an extra day’s shopping available, with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, means this year should end on a bit of a high note with more visits that week, and sales up versus last year despite the ongoing price deflation.”

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

About Nielsen Homescan Total Till
The Nielsen continuous 15,000 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 measures total store sales every week by SKU for 20,000 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 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 £120bn of all GB food, drink and supermarket general merchandise sales.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population.

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