Nielsen: warm weather and lead up to Olympics boost supermarket sales

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Table: 12-Weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change

% share, 12 weeks to

21 July 2012

% share, 12 weeks to

23 July 2011

% sales change vs. same 12 weeks year ago

TESCO

29.2%

29.2%

4.1%

ASDA

16.1%

15.9%

5.9%

SAINSBURY

15.8%

15.8%

3.9%

MORRISONS

11.1%

11.3%

2.0%

CO-OPERATIVE

7.3%

7.6%

1.0%

WAITROSE

4.2%

4.1%

8.0%

MARKS AND SPENCER

3.5%

3.5%

4.2%

ALDI

2.4%

1.8%

41.9%

LIDL

1.9%

1.8%

9.3%

ICELAND

1.9%

2.0%

1.7%

The figures in the table are based on 12 weeks sales through to 21 July 2012compared with the same 12 week period in 2011. Source: Nielsen Total Till, Nielsen Homescan

A brief spell of warm weather and the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics provided a welcome boost to grocery retailers at the end of July 2012, after a rather subdued performance during the rest of the month, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Aggregate sales growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets across the four weeks ending 21 July 2012 was just +1.8%, while unit sales declined by -0.2%, compared to the same period a year ago.

However, aggregate sales growth in the last week of that reporting period – week ending 21 July 2012 – did improve by +2.3% year-on-year. Furthermore, the following week (ending 28 July 2012) saw a +4.1% year-on-year growth due to the warm weather and lead up to the London 2012 Olympics.

July was also characterised by the continued slowing of food inflation – down to +3.1% from +3.5% in June 2012 – while the discounters continued to gain market share, said Nielsen.  

Over the last 12 weeks, competition has intensified among the big four supermarkets with vouchers and coupons now being used by nearly all supermarkets.

Nielsen senior manager for retailer services, Mike Watkins, said: “The cold and wet weather in early July, combined with the absence of a mid-July major event, resulted in weaker sales growths. 

“This was compounded by shoppers remaining fickle and chasing bargains – shopping tactically to benefit from retailer giveaways. 

“However, with sales growths improving in the last two weeks of July, due to the warmer weather and the start of the London 2012 Olympics, it’s hoped the much-awaited turning point of the year has finally been reached.”

Commenting on individual grocery retailers, Watkins said: “The last four weeks have seen Asda’s previously-impressive growth slowing to +3.2%, as the first anniversary marking the conversion of most of its acquired Netto stores to Asda approaches. 

“Meanwhile, Tesco’s sales growths improved to +3.7% on the back of initiatives that included ‘Spend £50; get 5p off a litre of fuel’, which helped attract more shoppers in-store.”