Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

BWS enjoys strong festive build up as general grocery sales slump

Published:  08 January, 2019

Shoppers visited supermarkets more often in the run up to Christmas, but sales slumped to half the level of growth returned last year, according to Nielsen.

It says in a “competitive retail environment” grocery sales growth slowed to 1.8% in the last four weeks, almost “half the growth (3.7%) enjoyed at the same time last year”.

However, the Beer, Wine and Spirits (BWS) category enjoyed a strong build up to the festive break, with sales up 3.8%.

“Growth slowed this Christmas in comparison to last,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight.

“We can attribute this to several factors: consumer grocery shopping habits are changing, with shoppers now opting to spend less on doing one ‘big shop’, instead preferring more frequent, smaller trips to the supermarket, spreading the cost across multiple retailers to increase choice.

“Moreover, with over half (57%) of consumers not confident about their finances, shoppers are more budget-conscious and the various promotions and price cuts are a response to help them manage their household budget. Finally, the incremental growth continues to come from the key categories of drinks, confectionery and snacks.

“It was a reasonable but not spectacular Christmas, indicative of how shoppers will now spread their Christmas spending across more retailers and different channels.”

Nielsen said online grocery sales in the four week run up to Christmas increased by 9% to take a 7.5% share of all grocery sales over the last 12 weeks.

Meanwhile it also noted a “continued shift” towards the discounters over Christmas, which it said hit a 13.9% market share for the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas. Aldi sales increased by 11.7% and sales at Lidl increased by 13.6%.

It added that in the last four weeks, there was “improved sales growth” at Tesco and Morrisons. But it said “momentum at Asda and Sainsbury’s slowed”.