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Olympic success and hot weather drives best supermarket results in nearly 3 years

Mineral water, hand-held ice cream, fresh beef burgers and sparkling wine see huge sales uplift

London, 23 August 2016. The hot weather and Britain’s success at the Olympics in Rio combined to generate the best year-on-year sales figures at the UKs leading supermarkets for nearly three years, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today.

During the four weeks ending 13 August 2016, the value of sales was up 0.9%¹ versus the same period a year ago – the best figure (excluding Easter and Xmas-inflated periods) since the four-weeks ending 9 November 2013 (1.7%). Sales volumes increased 1.0%¹ – the best figure for over 16 months (28 March 2015, 1.5%).

“The stellar Team GB performances at the Olympics, combined with the hot weather, particularly in mid-July, helped supermarkets to their own personal best for some time,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “Brexit seems to have been replaced by an Olympic ‘feel-good’ factor among shoppers and there were more visits to buy food and drink in the last four weeks than this time last year, with most retailers benefitting from an increase in shopper penetration.”

Watkins notes the figures would have been even better for the supermarkets “if not for the intense price competition, which is, of course, good news for consumers.”

The amount of sales on promotional items fell further to 28% reflecting the big four supermarkets’ move to “simplify the overall customer offer in response to the growth of the discounters by lowering the level of promotions and reducing multi buys, instead moving to permanent price cuts.”

Mineral water, fresh burgers and sparkling wine see huge spikes

The strongest category performances were in the Soft Drinks category (sales up +9.3% year-on-year, notably mineral water sales up by 18.5%). This was followed by the Frozen category (+4.7%) driven by Ice-cream, within which, hand-held ice-cream sales had a phenomenal 41% rise.

Produce (up +4.1%) saw a notable 15% increase in strawberry sales and, within Fresh Food, a 19% rise in sales of fresh beef burgers.

Beers, Wine & Spirits (+3.0%) also saw a highly improved performance. Within BWS, sales of Beer & Cider soared +6.9%, whilst Champagne sales rose +4.9% and Sparkling Wine continued its double-digit growth with a huge +13.9% hike in sales.

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

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 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 across all devices where 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 provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit

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