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BWS grocery sales decline 6%

Published:  24 August, 2021

Beer, wine and spirits (BWS) sales through supermarkets continued to slide in the four weeks ending 14 August 2021, down 6% compared with the same period last year, according to Total Till data from NielsenIQ released today.

The decline however was due to the “exceptional double-digit comparatives” recorded during the same period last year, said the research company.

In comparison, total till sales bounced back to +1.1% for the four weeks, up from -1.3% in July, as a short summer heatwave in the week ending 24 July helped lift overall grocery sales.

The new data also reveals that UK supermarkets experienced 50 million more in-store visits in the four week period, with store sales rising to £7.7bn.

This however was at the expense of online grocery sales, which fell 10% compared to a year ago, with online share of grocery spend having declined to 12.7%, though this is still close to the 13.4% in May 2020 during the height of the first lockdown.

“Shoppers seem more confident in visiting stores, which has had an impact on online grocery,” said Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

However, he added, the decline in online sales was expected as it was largely due to shoppers no longer needing to make such large shops as lifestyles finally started to normalise. 

“What is important is that despite there being a lack of new online shoppers over the last 12 weeks, existing online shoppers are staying  just spending differently,” he said.

“Food retail sales have been helped by events and warm weather in recent weeks but with the summer holidays soon coming to an end, retailers will need to keep their fingers crossed for an improving consumer sentiment to drive spending, particularly as we head into Q4, which could be a more challenging period with equally high comparatives.”