December was the busiest month ever for British supermarkets as tightening Covid-19 restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars, and cafes meant shoppers spent £11.7bn (€13bn) on groceries, industry data showed.
Market researcher Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose 11.4% year-on-year over the 12 weeks to December 27 — a period spanning both England’s November lockdown and Christmas.
“December is always an incredibly busy time for supermarkets, but take-home grocery shopping is usually supplemented by celebrations in restaurants, pubs, and bars, with £4bn spent on food and drink, excluding alcohol, out of the home during the normal festive month,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
Kantar said digital orders accounted for 12.6% of grocery spend during December, compared with 7.4% in December 2019.
Morrisons was the best performer of Britain’s ‘Big Four’ with sales up 13.1% year-on-year over the 12 weeks. Its market share moved up slightly to 10.4%, its highest level since June 2019.
Market leader Tesco saw sales growth of 11.1%, followed by Sainsbury’s with growth of 10.7%. Asda had growth of 7.8%.
Kantar said UK grocery inflation was at 1.3% for the 12-week period.
Christmas figures for supermarkets in Ireland will be published next month. The Irish Examiner reported last month that Irish grocers were the out-and-out retail business winners of the Covid-19 economic crisis, with record grocery sales set to jump close to €13bn in 2020 amid the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Figures showed the supermarkets made over €12.8bn in sales over the 52 weeks to the end of November, which includes the €1bn in sales during the latest level 5 lockdown, and before Christmas 2020, which is widely anticipated to top all records.
Reuters and Irish Examiner