Grocery sales hit £11.7bn over Christmas

Grocery sales reached £11.7 billion during the four weeks to 26 December, according to the latest Kantar figures.

Take-home grocery sales hit £31.7 billion across the three months leading up to Christmas.

The research finds that while spending was down by 3 per cent in comparison with 2020, when the UK was in lockdown, figures remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. Sales during the period were 8 per cent higher than in 2019.

But online sales declined by 3.7 per cent in December compared to the same period of 2020, accounting for 12.2 per cent of sales across the four weeks.

“People seized the chance to enjoy Christmas with friends and family after last year’s muted festivities, and grocery sales hit £11.7 billion over the month of December alone,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, Kantar. “This lofty spend figure is down just 0.2 per cent on record 2020 sales when several areas faced restrictions and the data suggests that while there weren’t formal rules in place across the UK this year, many people celebrated at home again due to Omicron.

“We can really see just how much spending accelerated in December compared with earlier in the year by looking at the average trend during March to November when sales were down by 2.5 per cent against 2020.”

UK supermarket figures

Kantar, which monitors the take home grocery purchasing habits of 30,000 demographically representative UK households, said that individual retailers found it challenging to secure year-on-year growth over the Christmas break.

However, it did say that last year every major grocer increased sales compared with the final 12 weeks of 2019.

Online grocery giant Ocado was the only retailer to grow in comparison to 2020, with sales increasing by 2.5 per cent. All other retailers experienced a sales decline, apart from Aldi, which remained the same as the previous year.

Tesco market share grew by 0.6 per cent to 27.9 per cent, the highest it’s been since January 2018.

Aldi, Lidl, and Waitrose also grew their shares by 0.3 per cent, 0.2 per cent, and 0.1 per cent respectively.

Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second-largest grocer, lost share last year, dropping by 0.2 per cent to 15.7 per cent. Asda and Morrisons also saw their market share decline by 0.1 per cent to 14.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent to 10.1 per cent respectively.

Independent retailers have a combined share of 1.6 per cent, while 5.8 per cent of the market belongs to the Co-op and 2.4 per cent to Iceland.

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