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Supermarkets see first sales growth for nearly a year

Euro 2016 boosts alcohol and crisps sales. Brexit unlikely to change shopper behaviour in the short-term

London, 28 June 2016. UK supermarkets saw their first genuine increase in year-on-year takings at the tills since July 2015, according to Nielsen retail performance data released today.

During the four weeks ending 18 June 2016, the value of sales was up +0.4%¹ versus the same period a year ago. The last time sales value increased year-on-year (excluding an Easter-inflated period) was the four-weeks ending 18 July 2015. Furthermore, it’s only the third genuine year-on-year rise since the start of 2014. Sales volume remained flat (0.0%¹) for the second consecutive period.

“It remains a tough trading environment for the big supermarkets but changes made over the last year in lowering prices, less promotions, edited ranges and improved customer service seem to be having an impact, alongside the drop in shoppers buying cheaper grocery brands to save money,” says Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “Furthermore, deflation is no longer deepening and, with the effect on figures of some store closures last year soon to be behind us, we can be more optimistic about a supermarket recovery later this year.”

The amount of the average supermarket shopping bill going on promotional items has remained at 29% for three months and Watkins observes: “With Sainsbury’s proactively leading the move to permanent price cuts and away from ‘multi-buy’ offers, it looks like the industry is attempting to make this the new baseline for promotional spend.”  

Euro 2016 lifts alcohol and crisps sales

The first week of Euro 2016 helped Beers, Wines & Spirits increase +6.2% year-on-year during the four-week period, whilst Crisps & Snacks rose +4.2%. In addition, the warm end to May contributed to Delicatessen sales rising +3.9% and General Merchandise +2.9%.

On the other major European event this month, Watkins notes: “Whilst the Brexit decision is unlikely to change shopper behaviour in the short term, we can expect some change in consumer sentiment and, possibly, a return to low inflation next year – should sterling’s depreciation continue and global commodity prices strengthen. However, for now, the battle for market share continues and shoppers will benefit from falling prices at food retailers due to price cuts and the deflationary environment.”

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
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