Easter supermarket sales slow as shoppers rebalance basket spend

Total till sales at UK supermarkets fell -1.8% over the last four weeks ending 23 April, with spending during the Easter period helping to lift sales up from -4.1% seen in March.

According to the latest data from NielsenIQ, UK shoppers spent £10.1 billion on groceries in the last four weeks ending 23 April.

This is down from £10.5 billion over the same four week Easter period in 2021 but is above the £9.6 billion in sales recorded in 2019.

Furthermore, data from NielsenIQ revealed that the number of items in the basket declined from 11.5 to 11.2 in the last four weeks.

This data suggests that consumers are more cautious of how they are spending and are making trade-offs around the number of items purchased.

As for retailer performance, discounter retailers Aldi and Lidl led the market in terms of growth with Tesco being the only Big 4 supermarket to have gained market share.

READ MORE: Supermarket sales plummet 5.9% while Easter boosts sales of premium own-label goods

The strongest category in the last four week period was confectionery (+35%) which was aided by the timing of Easter.

This was followed by pet and pet care (+13.6%), health and beauty (+8.3%), soft drinks (+3.3%) and delicatessen (+2%).

There was a decline in sales for beers, wines and spirits (-15.9%), meat, fish and poultry (-7.8%) as well as frozen food (-7.5%).

“Easter is a catalyst for sales growth and if a later Easter lands with warm weather, this can really help drive footfall,” NielsenIQ UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said.

“This was the case last year, which also coincided with the end of the final lockdown, giving a one-off boost to supermarket sales.

“Although sales this year are more subdued, they are still above levels recorded pre-pandemic in 2019, and further indicates a return to normal shopping behaviours, where shoppers no longer need to be concerned about stock levels and shortages.”

Watkins added: “Promotional spend has already moved up to 21.5% of value sales, and whilst in this instance, this reflects seasonal promotions, this could also herald the start of more pricing activity in the weeks ahead, such as private label price cuts and more targeted promotions through loyalty schemes. ”

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