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Supermarket BWS sales soar by £29m

Published:  22 June, 2021

Take-home sales of alcohol jumped by £29 million in the four weeks to 13 June compared to the previous four weeks despite pubs and restaurants being open, Kantar data released today has revealed.

The jump in beer, wine and spirits (BWS) take-home sales were driven by the late May bank holiday and the European football championships, according to Kantar.

“Often seen as the crowning glory of British summer time, a hot late May Bank Holiday this year had shoppers celebrating,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight.  

“Despite pubs and restaurants being open, take-home sales of alcohol increased by £29m compared to May in part thanks to events including the bank holiday, with another peak coming in the lead up to the much-anticipated European football championships in June,” he said.

The re-opening of indoor hospitality did however take some spend away from the grocers and into the nation’s cafés and restaurants, with supermarket footfall in the same period down by five million trips compared with May.

“While it’s encouraging to see shoppers returning to the habits of old, there is still a way to go before the market entirely returns to normal,” said McKevitt.   

"That’s demonstrated by the fact that sales in the past 12 weeks were still £3.3bn higher than in 2019 before the pandemic hit. Retailers will also be benefiting from sales of goods consumed on-the-go, such as picnics and lunches eaten at work, which are not captured in these numbers."

The research also showed that people are shopping more often and buying less in store compared to last year, with average spend per trip down 13.6% in the past 12 weeks (to 13 June).

Moreover, it revealed that the growth of online shopping has stuttered and ecommerce’s share of the market remained flat at 13.4% in the four weeks to 13 June.

“This plateau, and the fact that year on year sales were up by just 0.2%, suggests the appetite for large online shops is approaching a new baseline,” said McKevitt.