Promotional sales at UK supermarkets rise to over 20%

Sales of items on promotion at UK supermarkets rose to 23% in the last four weeks ending 22nd April 2023, the highest level since December 2020, driven by an increased number of loyalty scheme discounts.

According to new data from retail analytics company NIQ (previously known as NielsenIQ), the rise exceeded spend in April last year (21%), while Brits spent £3.1 billion over the Easter weekend – the highest weekly spend so far this year.

Over the four week period, most categories saw an increase in promotional spending, such as 51% of branded beer, wines and spirit sales were bought on offer and 27% of own label meat, fish and poultry, tempting shoppers to spend more for Easter.

The news comes as supermarkets have been accused of excluding elderly shoppers from loyalty scheme discounts, which often require email address or smartphone access.

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Overall grocery sales fell back from 11.7% in March to 9.7% over the latest four week period. However, there was a 4.5% increase in visits to stores, although this is also down compared to March (7.1%). With this in mind, the online share of FMCG spend dipped to 10.8%, down from 11.1% last month.

With the UK gearing up for Coronation celebrations this bank holiday weekend (6th May), the NIQ data revealed that 20% of households intend to buy extra or special groceries during this time.

Additionally, UK supermarket giants and FMCG brands are rolling out new ranges and products to celebrate the  historic occasion.

Supermarket spending data from the Jubilee week last year (week ending 4 June 2022) topped £2.7 billion, a 10% increase above the year-to-date average – and NIQ says sales for the Coronation week may reach similar levels.

“With food inflation hitting +15.7% in April4 and top line growth falling back a little, this suggests that some shoppers may have held back some spend before and after Easter to afford the Easter celebration,” NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins said.

“Inflation will continue to lift value growth but the ongoing trend for shoppers to buy fewer items each trip is putting pressure on retailers to attract new shoppers and get more visits to drive overall sales.

“However, with summer fast approaching and the Coronation this weekend, this could kick start some incremental spend.”

Watkins concludes: “The Coronation will be an event to celebrate, and as we saw over the Jubilee weekend, shoppers celebrated with fizz and teatime treats, so there could be a demand for similar products this year despite shoppers wanting to make savings.

“This means opportunities for premium own label products that complement the occasion and meet the price point of consumers. Moreover, Beers, Wines and Spirits could be a footfall driver as people look to commemorate and entertain.”



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