UK grocery sales drop 3% year-on-year, Kantar reveals

UK grocery sales in the lead-up to Christmas were down 3% from the year before, however up from the same period pre-pandemic 2019, according to research by Kantar.

Over the 12 week period to 26 December 2021, take-home grocery sales reached £31.7 billion. Although this figure was down compared to 2020, spending remained 8% stronger than 2019.

“People seized the chance to enjoy Christmas with friends and family after last year’s muted festivities, and grocery sales hit £11.7 billion over the month of December alone,”  Kantar head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said.

“This lofty spend figure is down just 0.2% on record 2020 sales when several areas faced restrictions and the data suggests that while there weren’t formal rules in place across the UK this year, many people celebrated at home again due to Omicron.

READ MORE: Christmas dinner sees 3.4% price inflation

“We can really see just how much spending accelerated in December compared with earlier in the year by looking at the average trend during March to November when sales were down by 2.5% against 2020.”

Online grocer Ocado was the only retailer to report a year-on-year increase in the period ended Boxing Day. Tesco also reported some positives, up by 0.6% to 27.9% in market shares, the highest it’s been since January 2018.

Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose also grew their shares by 0.3%, 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. Big 4 grocer Sainsbury’s now holds 15.7% of the market, with Asda on 14.2% and Morrisons on 10.1%.

Independent retailers have a combined share of 1.6%. Meanwhile, 5.8% of the market belongs to the Co-op and 2.4% to Iceland.

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