Grocery sales rose by more than £500m in April as the Covid-19 lockdown continued to affect households’ shopping and eating habits, a survey showed.
Total grocery sales increased £524m – a 5.5% increase from a year earlier, Kantar‘s monthly figures showed. The increase was a slowdown from the 21% rise recorded in March as shoppers panic-bought at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Kantar said April’s rise was mainly caused by changing habits rather than the mass stocking up of a month earlier. The number of lunches eaten at home has almost doubled during the lockdown and restaurant closures mean people are cooking their own dinners more.
The average number of visits to grocery stores was 14 in April, down from 17 in normal times and a record low. The average purchase was £26.02 – £7 higher than a year earlier and easily the highest recorded, Kantar said.
In the 12 weeks to April all grocers increased sales with business rising 9.1% overall though Kantar warned this rise was partly offset by lower sales of non-food products sandwiches and snacks. The biggest individual gainer was the mutually owned Co-op whose convenience stores had a 20% increase. Sales at franchises such as Spar and Londis and independent grocers surged 41%.
Of the big four supermarkets, Sainsbury’s was the biggest gainer, increasing sales by 8.4% over 12 weeks. Tesco rose 7.2%, Morrisons4.3% and Walmart owned Asda increased sales by 3.5%. Lidl sales rose 14.8% and rival German challenger Aldi‘s sales increased 8.8%.
Iceland‘s sales rose 16.6% and Ocado‘s were up 19.4% as shoppers opted for frozen food and did more online shopping during the lockdown.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “People are spending more time at home and eating fewer meals out of the house, which has led to a strong growth in take-home grocery sales. But social distancing also means that expenditure on other categories like clothes, food bought on the go and general merchandise will have been considerably lower, so for some retailers, the overall picture will be more modest.”
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