Late spurt for Christmas supermarket sales

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Turkey sales suffered overall
Turkey sales suffered overall

Related tags Supermarket

Supermarket grocery sales recovered in the fortnight up to and including Boxing Day after a lacklustre performance before that, according to Information Resources International (IRI).

Value sales from December 13 to 27 rose by £35.7M (2.1%) to a total of £1.73bn, according to the market analyst. This almost made up for falling sales from November 1 to December 12, although total sales for the entire six-week period were still down by 0.2%.

A rise in sales of alcohol and chocolate contributed most to the upturn, with liqueurs and spirits performing best, but these sectors achieved little year-on-year growth over the six-week period.

Meat sales down

Sales of turkey, chicken, beef, gammon and bacon in the final two weeks were still down on last year, although stock, stuffing and gravy grew, along with cooking fats.

Rather than shoppers cutting down on meat this Christmas, this suggests that some were buying it outside of the supermarkets, IRI claimed.

The worst-performing sector over the six-week trading period was frozen desserts and cream, with poultry close behind.

Top performing products

Top performing products were dates, non-cream liqueurs, frozen Yorkshire puddings, cream liqueurs, after-dinner confectionery and white fats.

Sales of Brussels sprouts fell substantially, by 19.1%, while sales of stilton and blue cheese, pickled onions, champagne and whole turkeys also dropped.

The top performing grocery category overall in the supermarkets for the six weeks of Christmas, measured by absolute sales growth, was sparkling wine which grew by £25.4M. The worst performing was potatoes, sales of which declined by £28.7M.

“All in all, looking at the sectors and categories most associated with Christmas, sales in supermarkets recovered to put retailers in a better position than it looked like they might end up in four weeks ago,” ​said IRI strategic insight director Tim Eales.

Meanwhile, Asda boss Andy Clarke has warned of another tough year facing supermarkets with ‘winners and losers’​.

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