A soft landing for retailers after the summer of games
Afterglow of London 2012 and Paralympic Games helps support grocery retail sales
London, Wednesday 26 September 2012 – the afterglow of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a mini heat wave in early September combined to help sales at UK grocery retailers, according to the latest retailer performance figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen.
During the Olympics, aggregate weekly sales growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets peaked at +4.0%* compared to the same week a year earlier. Post-Olympics, sales growths during the four weeks ending 15 September stabilised at +2.5%* and unit sales (volume) also increased by +1.1%* year-on-year.
In particular, Waitrose and Sainsbury enjoyed good sales growth in this four-week period of +7.5%** and +5.6%**, respectively. Interestingly, during the seven weeks ending 10 September Sainsbury’s media spend increased by 98%*** year-on-year to £3.8 million (excluding the Channel 4 sponsorship) – driven by over £1.2 million spent on its Paralympic advertising.
The good growths experienced by many categories in the previous four-week reporting period (ending 18 August) have continued. The categories over-performing the most during the four weeks ending 15 September included Soft Drinks, sales up +10% in value year-on-year, Crisps/Snacks (+9%) and Produce (+7%).
The better weather also helped sales in Fresh Foods categories, such as Delicatessen, which was up +5%. Frozen Foods also did well – sales values were up +4% (+3.5% volume) year-on-year – as shoppers took advantage of strong promotions in this category to keep tighter control over shopping bills.
Explaining the figures, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins: “After a traumatic first six months of the year, there is some good news. Whilst value growths are lower than this time last year – due to a low point in inflation – unit growths have been in positive territory for the last 10 weeks and sales volumes in all categories have improved since last year.
“Significantly, the multiples have maintained their level of promotional activity throughout the summer, which continued at 35% of sales during the last four weeks, encouraging the cautious shopper to spend more. Retailers will be hoping this sales momentum, generated around London 2012, will keep going during the run up to Christmas.”