Grocery sales jump 5.7%

Take-home grocery sales increased by 5.7 per cent in the three months to 18 April, according to new research from Kantar.

The number of supermarket trips in the same period was 4 per cent higher than in March.

In the past month, in-store grocery growth has accelerated even more than across the 12-week period, increasing by 6.5 per cent.

But the number of people shopping online fell for the second consecutive month, with digital orders now making up 13.9 per cent of grocery spend.

“There is a growing sense that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, and people are becoming more comfortable with venturing out to the supermarket,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, Kantar. “The past four weeks have been the busiest in store for the grocers in more than a year, as the number of trips made in April increased by 4 per cent compared to March. With much of the over-65 community now vaccinated, older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the increased footfall.”

The share of groceries ordered online has dropped from a peak of 15.4 per cent growth in February.

“While online is still growing strongly, at 46 per cent, the rate is half what it was at the height of the pandemic,” he said. “Convenience stores – both independents and those owned by major retailers – were also particularly popular during the first lockdowns and, against such comparisons, it is unsurprising that sales have fallen by 19 per cent in the past month.”

Growth by supermarket

Kantar data shows that Asda is the fastest growing of the big four supermarket retailers for the first time in nearly two and half years. According to the research, its larger stores were visited less often by shoppers looking to stay local in the early days of the pandemic, but footfall has now returned strongly.

Asda’s share of the market increased by 0.4 percentage points to 14.8 per cent this period, on the back of 8 per cent growth.

Co-op saw sales decrease annually by 3.1 per cent over the 12 weeks, following particularly strong performance this time in 2020. But compared to 2019, sales are up by 16.2 per cent.

Tesco also gained market share, increasing by 27 per cent compared to 26.8 per cent in the same period last year.
The supermarket’s sales grew by 6.4 per cent over the 12-week period.

Morrisons saw a sales increase of 7.2 per cent across the three months, with its share increasing by 0.1 per cent to 10 per cent.

Sainsbury’s share remained at 15.3 per cent, while sales jumped by 6 per cent.

Aldi’s share grew for the first time in a year to 8 per cent, with a sales boost of 6.6 per cent. While rival Lidl saw sales growth of 6.1 per cent, which was enough to hold its share of the market steady at 6 per cent.

Waitrose’s market share also stayed the same at 5 per cent, while its sales grew by the same amount.

Iceland experienced overall growth of 6.8 per cent.

In line with the wider online market, Ocado’s growth slowed to 27.5 per cent, but the retailer still held on to its position as the fastest growing grocer.

Grocery inflation

Grocery inflation has dropped by 0.3 per cent, falling for the first time since December 2016.

“There has been a lot of talk about grocery prices this year, and shoppers will welcome the news that like-for-like take-home grocery prices are lower than in 2020,” said McKevitt. “This is largely down to promotions, as retailers prioritised filling shelves over running deals last year."

He added: “Compared with April 2020, an extra £582 million of groceries were sold on offer, most of which were straightforward price cuts.”

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