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Supermarkets record drop in BWS sales

Published:  20 July, 2021

Take-home sales of alcohol over the four weeks to 11 July were down by 3% compared with the previous month, according to the latest figures from Kantar.

While it was a huge month for British football, with major tournaments usually providing a significant boost to supermarkets, the decline was driven by football fans choosing to make the most of newfound freedom and watch the Euro 2020 matches in pubs and bars, said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

That said, shoppers still spent £1.2bn on the category – a 24% increase on the same period in 2019. 

Looking at the 12 weeks to 11 July 2021, overall take-home grocery sales fell by 5.1%.

Despite the year-on-year decline, sales were still strong compared with pre-pandemic times, with shoppers spending £3bn more on groceries than they did during the same period in 2019.

Year-on-year online grocery sales meanwhile declined for the first time to date during the period as the nation returned to physical stores, workplaces, and restaurants over the past month.

 “The number of people choosing to buy groceries online fell by 81,000 in July compared with the same four weeks last year,” said Frazer. 

“As the nation returned to shops, workplaces and restaurants over the past month, digital baskets shrunk by 8% to an average of £80 per shop, the lowest since February 2020. 

“As a result, year-on-year sales growth for online groceries has dropped for the first time ever – falling by 2.6%. The channel currently accounts for 13.3% of the total market,” he said.

As the legal obligation to wear face masks in shops in England came to an end yesterday (19 July), Kantar said separate research had found 55% of shoppers felt safe on their latest trip to a retailer (Worldpanel Plus customer satisfaction study 12 w/e to 13 June 2021).

“The proportion of people who feel safe when visiting stores has not varied significantly over the past six months, despite the majority of the country now being at least partially vaccinated. Just over half of the population feel happy and secure in store but that of course means a significant minority still experience some degree of anxiety while out and about,” said Frazer.

In the four weeks to 13 June, take-home sales of alcohol jumped by £29m compared to the previous four weeks despite pubs and restaurants being open, Kantar data released last month revealed.