Consumers made fewer supermarket visits in autumn as growth stalls

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Year-on-year supermarket sales growth slowed again during the 12 weeks ending 1 December to 0.5%, with average consumers making one fewer visit to the shops over the past three months than this time last year.

There was also evidence of suppressed Christmas spending with sales of Christmas puddings and seasonal biscuits down 16% and 12% in the four weeks ending 10 December compared to a year ago, according to the latest research by Kantar Worldpanel.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “We’re yet to see consumers ramp up their spending in the run up to Christmas and, as anticipated, Black Friday only brought a limited boost for the grocers.

“The number of people claiming to take advantage of Black Friday this year fell to 53% from 57% in 2018 with signs of ‘promotion fatigue’ among consumers, an increased scepticism regarding the value of the deals on offer and some retailers pulling back from the day all together.

“The event is always less significant in the supermarket calendar and this year only 5% of Black Friday deal hunters bought something from a grocer.”

Sales growth of 9.3% during the past 12 weeks propelled Lidl to a new record high market share of 6.1% while Aldi’s year-on-year growth of 6.2% is worth £129 million in additional sales and takes its market share to 8.0%.

The four largest grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – came under further pressure in the 12 week period with collective market share dropping to 67.7%, compared with 69.1% this time last year.

McKevitt said: “While the big four all lost share in the past 12 weeks, 98% of the British public still visited at least one of their stores during the past three months. Based on previous years, we expect them to increase their proportion of sales in the coming weeks as shoppers turn to familiar favourites and the traditional retailers in December.”

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