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BWS supermarket sales rise 15%

Published:  10 November, 2020

Supermarket sales of beer, wines and spirits (BWS) rose 15% in the four weeks to 31 October as the category remained one of the fastest growing ahead of packaged grocery (11%) but behind frozen (16%). 

The growth compares to a 6.9% increase in total grocery sales, with sales in the final week of October rising by 7.2% ahead of lockdown, according to Nielsen data released today. 

“We can see that supermarket sales have experienced moderate growth over the last four weeks, growing a little in the final week in anticipation of another lockdown,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight. 

However, UK shoppers’ plans for the Christmas period remained in limbo, he added.

“They are unable to plan when and where they will shop, how much they will spend and of course whether they will be able to spend it with family and friends. Assuming that restrictions on travel and get-togethers are relaxed in December, food and drink retailers should then see pent up demand translated into extra purchasing for the festive season,” he said. 

Online continued to grow with sales up 87% in the four weeks, while the number of store visits remained low, down 12% compared to the same period last year.

The data however also shows that UK shoppers spent an average of £17.70 per basket on FMCG at stores and online, which is 20% more than the same time last year. 

In terms of retailer performance over the last 12 weeks to 31 October 2020, Lidl icontinues to experience strong growth (17%) following the launch of the Lidl Plus loyalty app, as did Waitrose  (8.6%), helped by the increased capacity for online sales. 

Morrisons meanwhile (+8%) remained the fastest growing supermarket out of the ‘big four’, and sales at Tesco (+6.2%) also increased, ahead of Sainsbury (+5.7%) and Asda (+3%).  

Nielsen estimated that UK shoppers will spend £2bn more in supermarkets for the full quarter up to 26 December 2020, an all time record high, and an expected sales growth of 7%.

BWS sales through supermarkets increased 17% in the four weeks to 3 October, at which point it was the fastest growing category (Nielsen).