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BWS sales through grocers continue to boom

Published:  23 June, 2020

Alcohol sales through grocery stores continued to boom in the past four weeks, up 43% year-on-year, as the on-trade stayed shuttered.

Overall grocery sales in the four weeks to 14 June increased 18.9%, according to Kantar data released today.

The growth was driven by online sales, up 91%, with a significant increase in available delivery slots across the sector resulting in nearly one in five British households buying over the internet, totalling 5.7 million shoppers.  

Convenience stores also boosted overall grocery sales, taking £1.6bn through their tills and accounting for 14.7% of all sales. Although the latter is considerably higher than normal levels, the figure has receded from April’s peak of 16.3%.

“Convenience stores have become an increasingly important outlet for shoppers during the lockdown – be they independent retailers, which are growing at 69.3%, or the smaller formats of major outlets, for example Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar. 

The four-week data suggested that while the market has started to edge slowly back towards normality, shopper habits remain “a world away from what retailers would usually expect”, he added.

“While many of the major trends of the Covid-19 period continued into June, the relaxing of lockdown rules is starting to ease the market back towards pre-pandemic shopping patterns,” he said.  

"Although we are still shopping less frequently, shoppers are gradually changing their behaviour," he added.

Households made 77 million fewer trips to the grocers in the latest four weeks compared with last year, but that’s still 19 million more than in May, reflecting the slight easing of government restrictions. Once in the shops, customers are continuing to buy more than usual, spending 42% more per trip than in June last year at £26.37 on average.”

Looking at the past 12 weeks, take-home grocery sales increased by 13.7% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 14 June 2020, covering the full lockdown period.  

Separate Kantar research revealed that safety while shopping remains a concern for many, with only 54% of people saying they felt safe when visiting a supermarket or a convenience store, with hygiene considerations impacting shoppers’ buying habits.