Supermarket sales grow at fastest rate this year amid £2.5bn Easter spending

Supermarket sales have grown at their fastest rate this year, helped by shoppers going on a record £2.5 billion Easter spending splurge, figures show.

Consumers bought £335 million worth of Easter eggs and chocolate treats over the 12 weeks to April 21 as total year-on-year sales increased by 2%, Kantar said.

The average household took home 10 Easter treats during the longer build-up from February to the holiday weekend, while the warm weather over the Easter break helped boost sales of ice cream by 8% and hay fever remedies by 27% over the past four weeks.

Lidl’s 8.6% growth pushed the discounter’s market share to a new high of 5.7%, up 0.3 percentage points compared with last year, while Aldi was again the fastest growing supermarket on 11.6%, a position it has held since July 2018, increasing its market share to 7.9%.

Co-op and Ocado were the only other retailers to gain market share on last year, moving to 6.1% and 1.3% respectively.

Sainsbury’s was the only one of the big four grocers to see sales fall over the quarter – down 1.2% – in more disappointing news after last week’s move by the Competition and Markets Authority to block its takeover of rival Asda.

In contrast, sales at market leader Tesco, Asda and Morrisons increased 1%, 0.3% and 0.6% respectively.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “More than three quarters of British households visited Tesco in the past 12 weeks, over five million more than each of its two closest rivals.

“Sainsbury’s has reclaimed second position despite a sales decline of 1.2%. The supermarket achieved double-digit growth online which coincides with the launch of its first mobile-only payment store in central London this week, further demonstrating its drive towards digital innovation.”

Figures from analysts Nielsen show consumer spending in the grocery sector increased by 5.9% in April over the four weeks to April 20, the highest level since the late Easter in 2014 and the summer heatwave of 2013

Over the 12-week period, all retailers – aside from Sainsbury’s – experienced growth, with Aldi and Lidl maintaining their double-digit growth and combined market share of 16%, Nielsen said.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “While shoppers are still looking to get the best value for money for their weekly groceries, they are also still prepared to indulge in affordable treats in order to make the most of long weekends, and enjoy the warm weather with friends and family.

“There was stronger performance in the last four weeks, which included both Easter and Mothering Sunday, where British shoppers spent £213 million on Easter eggs, £49 million on fresh lamb, £136 million on cut flowers and £41 million on prosecco.”

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