Grocery price inflation drives £12.8bn Christmas sales

The UK’s grocery sales reached a new record at £12.8 billion in December as year on year growth hit 9.4%, the fastest rate recorded since February 2021, new data shows.

The latest figures from Kantar found take-home grocery sales increased by 7.6% in the 12 weeks to 25 December 2022 as consumers began the annual rush of Christmas shopping.

“Monthly grocery sales were a whopping £1.1 billion higher in December versus last year, breaching the £12 billion mark for the first time,” Kantar head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt said.

However, he added that while sales are up “significantly”, the driving factor for this is grocery price inflation, instead of increased purchasing.

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“If we look at the amount people bought this period, sales measured by volume are actually down by 1% year-on-year, showing the challenges shoppers are facing,” McKevitt said.

“This story played out across the traditional Christmas categories. For example, value sales of mince pies soared by 19% but volume purchases barely increased at all.

“Christmas puddings were popular, growing by 16% in value and 6% in volume terms. Brussels sprouts were off the menu for some households as the proportion buying them fell to 45% from 48%.”

McKevitt said that the FIFA World Cup also saw a rise across the take-home beer market, as sales hit their “biggest daily takings of the year” on 10 December when England played its Quarter Final match against France.

He added that this was “surpassed only by the Friday and Saturday before Christmas as people stocked up on festive drinks.”

This comes as grocery price inflation has dropped for the second month running to 14.4% from 14.6% in November, which McKevitt said is “raising hopes that the worst has now passed.”

However, he added that this is “still a painfully high figure at the current rate, impacting how and what we buy at the shops.”



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