March busiest month on record for supermarkets as worried shoppers stock up

March was the busiest month on record for supermarkets across Britain as shoppers rushed to stock up on vital supplies to see them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Grocery sales rose by a staggering 20.6% in the last four weeks, and 7.6% in the last 12, according to new data from Kantar, beating even Christmas shopping.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "Retailers and their staff have been on the front line as households prepare for an extended stay at home, with grocery sales amounting to £10.8 billion during the past four weeks alone – that's even higher than levels seen at Christmas, the busiest time of year under normal circumstances."

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Pictures of the week: March 29 - April 4
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Pictures of the week: March 29 - April 4
Artist Rachel List with her mural supporting the NHS on the side of Horse Vaults pub in Pontefract, Yorkshire, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Janet Woodcock holds a social distance dancing event with the residents of Springbourne in Frodsham, Cheshire as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo taken at 10:56am of medical staff at an NHS drive through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in an IKEA car park, Wembley as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Local resident Alex Girdwood working on her plot at Mudchute Allotments on the Isle of Dogs, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Ambulances outside the Harrogate Convention Centre that is being converted to take up to 500 patients from Yorkshire and the north-east of England, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
ROMFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Fallow deer from Dagnam Park rest and graze on the grass outside homes on a housing estate in Harold Hill, near Romford on April 02, 2020 in Romford, England. The semi-urban deer are a regular sight in the area around the park but as the roads have become quieter due to the nationwide lockdown, the deer have staked a claim on new territories in the vicinity. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
A London Ambulance worker wearing PPE cleans an ambulance after a patient is brought into St Thomas' Hospital in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Jack Tucker, 7, places his rainbow in the window of a house in Bedminster, Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A coronavirus notice in a shop doorway in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A temporary mortuary which being built in Manor Flats in the Manor Park area of Newham in east London as the number of deaths from Covid-19 in the UK surpassed two thousand.
A solo skater exercises in a makeshift skate park on a derelict car wash site in Bristol as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A cyclist passes street art in Stokes Croft, Bristol, as the UK enters the second week of lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
London ambulances line a street in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Customers observing social distancing in the queue for a supermarket in Westminster, London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sid Lovatt with his 3D printed protective mask that he has been supplying to front-line workers, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past an open shop in St Pauls, Bristol, as the UK enters the second week of lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
A Taylor Wimpey housing development in Telford where building work has ceased as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sold out delivery spots as the ASDA website is pictured on a laptop as Supermarket websites are overwhelmed by online orders during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A paramedic wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) exits an ambulance outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A food parcel and notecard prepared for those less fortunate in Cheltenham as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People using the towpath along the River Lea beside Hackney Marshes, in east London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Clementine Sage(L) and Lucy Paterson perform Muay Thai in Kevingrove Park in Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A motorist wearing a face mask drives through the streets of Glasgow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A COVID-19 sign instructing walkers to observe a 2 metre gap on Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk along the beach in Broadstairs, Kent, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk down Market Street, Manchester as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman runs past closed kiosks in Scarborough as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Roads are deserted in Bournemouth as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A message left by an eight year old girl on a beach groyne in Whitstable, Kent, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An empty stretch of the M5 motorway in Strensham, Worcestershire as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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Although grocery sales were high in the first two weeks of March, Britons increased their shopping in the middle of the month, with 88% of households visiting a grocer between March 16 and March 19, making an average of five trips each. This meant 42 million extra shopping trips in only four days.

Shoppers have tended to focus on buying supplies more regularly, rather than massively increasing the amount they buy per trip. However, shopping trolleys have been filling up more as well.

The average household increased its spending by £62.92 over the last four weeks, with shoppers in London, where the virus hit first, spent a quarter more than they usually do.

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