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Heat, sport and alfresco dining maintains supermarket sales surge

Ice cream, alcohol mixers, fresh beef burgers and lemonade experience soaring sales

The continuing hot weather combined with a series of major sporting events led to a surge in alfresco eating which meant the UK’s leading supermarkets saw another impressive jump in sales figures, according to Nielsen retail data released today.

The amount shoppers spent on groceries during the four weeks ending 15 July 2017 was 5.1% higher versus the same period a year ago – the highest year-on-year rise for at least four years*. This follows on from a 4.0% year-on-year rise in the previous four week period (ending 17 June 2017). The week ending 24th June alone saw sales rise 7.1%¹.

Shoppers also made four percent more grocery trips to supermarkets compared to the same period last year, when the weather was cool and wet and sales fell.

“Various factors typically drive extra spend in grocery shopping – more disposable income, more promotions, peak events and changes in weather, and lifestyle,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. “However, the first two have been falling in recent times which shows the impact that hot weather and big sporting events – such as Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, the British and Irish Lions rugby and the women’s cricket World Cup – had on people’s purse strings. This combination encourages shoppers to spend more, particularly on fresh foods and to use Convenience stores more often. With the likelihood of eating and drinking outside also increasing people are more inclined to indulge and treat themselves.”

This is reflected in strong sales growths in categories such as ice cream (up 45%), alcohol mixers (+44%), fresh beef burgers (+29%), lemonade (+24%), cider (+19%), sparkling wines (+17%), soft drinks (+16%) and prepared salads (+16%). At the peak of the heatwave (week ending 24June) sales of strawberries and cream rose 18%, whilst packs of strawberries alone increased 10% in the final week of Wimbledon (week ending 15 July).

It was only the second time since July 2013 that all of the biggest grocery retailers saw year-on-year sales rise. During the 12 weeks ending 17 June 2017, Tesco (up 2.8%) had the biggest rise among the Big Four, whilst Iceland had the biggest rise (7.8%) of anyone outside the discounters. Marks and Spencer also traded well with food sales increasing 4.1%. 


*Excluding Easter periods when different timings in successive years distort annual comparisons
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