Fall in use of vouchers slows supermarket sales at start of 2013, Nielsen reports

Latest supermarket sales

Latest supermarket sales

A drop in the use of vouchers, coupons and fuel discounts compared to a year ago, combined with cautious shopper behaviour, saw a slow start to 2013 for the UK’s leading supermarkets, new figures from Nielsen reveal.

It found aggregate sales value growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets during the four weeks ending 2 February 2013 was up +2.2% year-on-year. For the previous four-week period (ending 5 January 2013), year-on-year sales value growth was +3.7%. 

Unit sales (volume) stayed flat year-on-year – compared to +0.5% year-on-year increase for the previous four weeks.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, Mike Watkins, said: “After the promotional and discounting frenzy at Christmas, retailers and consumers both stepped back a little. Although the percentage of the basket purchased on offer went back to 33% of sales right after Christmas – which is still high – it’s what we’ve come to expect in recent years as shoppers continue to seek out savings. However, compared to the start of 2012, there has been less use of vouchers, coupons and fuel discounts.

“There were slightly fewer shopping trips to most of the major supermarkets as shoppers held back spend after Christmas, perhaps paying down credit cards or delaying spend to the next pay day in February. On top of this, sales in the final two weeks of January will have been disrupted by the snowy weather.

“Shopping at different retailers, online and offline, is now an ingrained behaviour for many consumers as a way to cope with continued falls in disposable income. So, we expect to see short term gains and losses in market share across the top four retailers continuing throughout 2013