Press Room

Supermarkets fight back

Tesco has best year-on-year performance this year

London, 20 September 2016. For the first time in at least two years, the UKs leading supermarkets experienced two consecutive months of growth in both money taken at the till and volume of goods sold, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today.

During the four weeks ending 10September 2016, the value of sales was up 0.4%¹ versus the same period a year ago whilst sales volumes increased 0.3%¹. Both metrics haven’t been positive for two consecutive months in over two years. The growth was partly driven by people making more shopping trips which benefited supermarkets with small store formats, in particular.

Alongside this, Tesco had its best year-on-year performance this year, with sales for the 12 weeks ending 10 September down just -0.2% against the same period last year.

“With both value and volume growth most weeks since the middle of July we’re seeing the green shoots of recovery for the leading supermarkets in their battle against the discounters and price deflation,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “A sustained period of good weather and soaring temperatures into September has also helped, as did an improved performance from Tesco, and continued good momentum at the likes of Co-op and Waitrose.”

Beverages big winners in last four weeks

The Soft Drinks category saw sales rise +8.3% year-on-year, while Beers, Wines & Spirits experienced a 6.8% increase.

In contrast, Packaged Grocery saw a -4.7% decline in sales “as shoppers decided to delay stocking up the larder, instead focusing on outdoor eating and foods for immediate meal preparation. This helped sales in fresh foods rise, such as produce (+3.6%) and delicatessen (+3.4%), as well as contributing to M&S having the highest year-on-year sales increase (+5%) among the leading food retailers, outside the discounters, over the twelve-week period.”

Market share battle intensifies 

Watkins says he expects competition to “remain intense, particularly with Tesco and, soon, Morrison’s back in growth. There’s a lot of market share to play for in the £40 billion sales opportunity up to the end of the year.”

He adds: “This is why the supermarkets need to maintain price cuts as part of a strategy to win back market share from the discounters who are expected to respond by increasing advertising spend again in the run up to Christmas.”

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