Supermarkets Record Best Results In Nearly 3 Years – Nielsen

The UK’s leading supermarkets reported their best year-on-year sales figures in nearly three years, helped by the hot weather and Britain’s success at the Olympics, according to Nielsen retail performance data.

During the four weeks to 13 August 2016, value sales were up 0.9% year-on-year – the best figure (excluding Easter and Xmas-inflated periods) since the four-weeks ending 9 November 2013 (+1.7%). Meanwhile, volumes were up 1.0% – the best figure since 28 March 2015 (+1.5%).

The strongest category was that of Soft Drinks (sales up +9.3% year-on-year, notably mineral water sales up by 18.5%), followed by Frozen (+4.7%, driven by Ice-cream, with hand-held ice-cream sales up 41%).  Produce (+4.1%) saw a notable 15% increase in strawberry sales and, within Fresh Food, a 19% rise in sales of fresh beef burgers.

Beers, Wine & Spirits (+3.0%) also saw a highly improved performance. Within BWS, sales of Beer & Cider soared +6.9%, whilst Champagne sales rose +4.9% and Sparkling Wine continued its double-digit growth with a huge +13.9% hike in sales.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, noted: “The stellar Team GB performances at the Olympics combined with the hot weather, particularly in mid-July, helped supermarkets to their own personal best for some time. Brexit seems to have been replaced by an Olympic ‘feel-good’ factor among shoppers and there were more visits to buy food and drink in the last four weeks than this time last year, with most retailers benefitting from an increase in shopper penetration.”

Watkins noted the figures would have been even better for the supermarkets “if not for the intense price competition”, adding that the amount of sales on promotional items fell further to 28%, reflecting the big four supermarkets’ move to “simplify the overall customer offer” but “moving to permanent price cuts.”

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NAM Implications:
  • As always, it is key that NAMs compare their performance in each of these categories…
  • And focus on securing their share for what remains of the season, where possible…
  • …and perhaps a resolution to do better next time?
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