NEWS25 August 2023

Till supermarket sales slow amid uncertain weather

News Retail UK

UK  – Till sales at UK supermarkets are slowing down amid unpredictable weather and summer holidays, new data shows.

supermarket shopper pushing trolley in front of grocery shelves

The data, compiled by NIQ, shows that total sales at UK supermarkets slowed to 7.2 per cent in the last four weeks ending August 12th.

According to NIQ, this drop in sales is due to lower inflation as well as unsettled, unseasonable weather over the summer months.

This has meant that shoppers are visiting stores fewer times in the last four weeks compared to the same period last year. 

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, shopper caution is expressed in weakening volume sales at the Grocery Multiples, weakening to -3.8 per cent compared to -3.6 per cent in July.

According to the data, retailers have further increased spend on promotional activity ( up 23 per cent compared to the previous month 22.5 per cent) on all FMCG goods in a bid to ease the effects of the cost-of-living crisis and encourage spending. 

NIQ data also reveals that Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and M&S are winning out in the supermarket wars.

Tesco saw an increase in sales (+9.7%) and gained market share over the latest 12 weeks attracting both new shoppers and an increase in in-store visits;.

Aldi (+22.2 per cent), Lidl (+16.5 per cent) and M&S (+11.5 per cent) were the only other retailers who gained market share in this period.

The retailers with the weakest growth were Morrisons (+1.7 per cent) and Co-Op (+2 per cent), with the Co-Op more impacted by comparisons against the summer 2022 heatwave.

Meanwhile, the trend for bargain hunting continues with 62 per cent of consumers shopping at discounters in the last four weeks and over 780,000 new shoppers at discounters compared to this time last year1. 

Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business Insight, said: “Recent weeks have seen a decline in supermarket volumes, likely influenced by factors such as summer holidays and unpredictable weather. 

“The rising cost of living also continues to deter people from dining out, with 53 per cent of consumers attributing this decision to increased prices for eating and drinking out

“The inclement weather has similarly affected non-food retail, as indicated by the recent BRC KPMG retail sales monitor. It’s evident that encouraging consumer spending has become an industry challenge, extending beyond just grocery shopping.

“Despite lower inflation, most consumers remain pessimistic about their financial situation in the coming three months, with 60 per cent anticipating that they will be severely or moderately impacted by rising living costs."