UK Grocery Sales Grow Slowly

UK Grocery Sales Grow Slowly

Top line growth of grocery sales in Britain remained slow at 4.5 percent for the twelve weeks ending September 5th compared to the same period a year ago.  Unpredictable weather and fickle shoppers affected food trade, although the late bank holiday did spur sales growth of 7.9 percent on a year-to-year basis for the week ending August 29th, according to Nielsen’s monthly survey.  Unit growth continued increased 2.8 percent in the last four weeks of the period.

“Trading over the summer has been volatile, but the underlying trend is a slowing of top line value growths.  Food retailers continue to rely on promotions and price cuts to draw in shoppers, a strategy that seems to be working for most chains as penetration has increased,” said Mike Watkins, Senior Manager, Retailer Services at Nielsen.

Waitrose and Morrisons recorded the strongest growth in value sales during the twelve week period (11.4% and 8.1% respectively), while the launch of Tesco’s Clubcard in August has helped increase spend per visit by 5 percent as shoppers seek to maximize spending within the store.

Retailer Share of Market Spend 12 w/e 9/6/08 Share of Market Spend 12 w/e 9/5/09 Value Sales % Change
Tesco 28.3% 28.4% 5.1%
Asda 15.4% 15.8% 7.3%
Sainsbury 14.0% 14.3% 6.4%
Morrisons 10.2% 10.5% 8.1%
Co-op 6.2% 6.2% 5.0%
Waitrose 3.3% 3.5% 11.4%
M&S 3.6% 3.6% 3.5%
Somerfield 3.5% 2.6% -23.0%
Iceland 1.7% 1.7% 5.7%
Source: Nielsen Total Till, Nielsen Homescan