Despite a slow start to the Easter trading period and the cold weather, Easter falling early provided a welcome boost to March food and drink sales at the UK’s leading supermarkets, according to the latest retailer performance figures released by Nielsen.
Aggregate sales value growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 30 March 2013 was up +6.2% year on year. For the previous four-week period (ending 2 March 2013), year-on-year sales value growth was +3.2%.
Unit sales (volume) increased +2.5% year-on-year, compared to +0.3% year-on-year during the previous four weeks.
The seasonal uplift in sales over the four-week period was driven by confectionery (+41% in value year-on-year), beers, wines and spirits (+12%), bakery (+10%) and packaged grocery (+8%).
Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, Mike Watkins, said: “Although ‘spend on offer’ moved up slightly to 34% of sales with ‘business as usual’ in-store promotions, the early Easter was the key factor in the March sales uplift supported by a robust increase in advertising spend. Although all the grocery multiples benefited, Waitrose was able to surf the rising Easter tide better and longer than its competition.”
Tesco was the highest spending supermarket on TV and press FMCG advertising in the four weeks ending 30 March, spending £6.6m – 41% more than during the same period last year, which didn’t include Easter – closely followed by Morrisons £6.4m (up 34%) then Aldi £5.0m (up 54%).
“The context is almost one in five (18%) shoppers now visit a convenience store two or three times a week and half (51%) at least once a week. Many shoppers now expect to shop “little and often” as well as chase promotions and voucher giveaways. Coping with less disposable income and disloyalty are the new norm.”