M&S Food_updatedstoreimage

In terms of retailer performance in the last 12 weeks, the fastest growing food retailer is M&S

British shoppers are set to spend £6.8bn at UK supermarkets in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, up from £6.7bn in 2020, as shoppers prepare to celebrate Christmas at home with family and friends, reveals new data released yesterday (14 December) by NielsenIQ.

Data from NielsenIQ reveals that Total Till grocery sales fell 2.5 per cent in the last four weeks ending 4 December. However, grocery spend has already begun to pick up, with sales at -0.9 per cent in the first week of December, indicating that spend is set to increase in the next two weeks ahead of Christmas.

UK shoppers are seeking to treat themselves to more premium and higher value items this Christmas, with NielsenIQ data showing that the average value of the shopping basket is now 2.6 per cent higher this year.

Online grocery sales have fallen by 13 per cent in the last four weeks ending 4 December 2021. However, this is against lockdown comparatives in the same period in 2020. The online share of FMCG sales at UK supermarkets remains at 12.4 per cent - similar to last month - with in-store sales up by +0.2 per cent indicating that shoppers are continuing to adopt omnichannel shopping behaviours.

In terms of retailer performance in the last 12 weeks, the fastest growing food retailer is M&S (+9.1 per cent), which has outpaced Lidl (+8.3 per cent) and Aldi (+4.6 per cent) and these are the only retailers to grow sales against this time last year.

Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “Whilst our data may show that performance at the big four supermarkets is weaker, we must remember that this is against strong comparatives last year when the nation was in lockdown.

Nevertheless, with two weeks to go there is still a lot to play for, with special prices from loyalty cards which are the promotional mechanic most likely to encourage shoppers to spend more this Christmas.”

Watkins concludes: “This year more than ever, we can expect shoppers to plan activities and meal occasions around family and friends. The sales figures in November are partly due to lockdown comparatives but also shoppers delaying big shopping trips until the final week before Christmas when fresh foods and any remaining indulgences are purchased. For 1 in 3 households good availability as well as low prices are the most important factors in deciding where to shop and we anticipate that the 23rd December is likely to be the peak day for trading at UK supermarkets.”