Consumers raise a glass to celebrate Britain’s sporting success

Britain’s supermarkets have seen alcohol sales rise as shoppers celebrated the country’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Market research firm Kantar Worldpanel on Tuesday released its latest figures for the grocery sector, showing that supermarket sales increased by an overall 0.3% in the 12 weeks to 11 September 2016, despite continued deflation of 1.1%. Alcohol sales performed particularly well.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: ‘While overall sales growth has been slow, consumers have been keen to celebrate Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic golden summer, boosting alcohol sales by 8.5% in the past four weeks. Sparkling wines including Prosecco and Champagne led the way with growth of 36% as promotional events across a number of retailers successfully tapped into the nation’s celebratory mood.’

Looking at individual retailers, market leader Tesco had a successful summer ‘Drinks Festival’ which helped grow its alcohol sales faster than any other major category.

McKevitt noted that, although Tesco’s sales have not yet returned to growth, a decline of 0.2% year-on-year is its best performance since March 2014. During the period its market share declined 0.1 percentage points and Tesco now accounts for 28.1% of the overall grocery market.

Sainsbury’s is in second place on 15.9%, followed by Asda (15.7%), Morrisons (10.4%) and the Co-op (6.6%).

‘Co-op continues to outperform the market with sales growth of 3.1%, primarily through its own label lines,’ McKevitt said. ‘The convenience retailer was another to post strong alcohol sales, though its produce lines were its fastest growing category, helping market share increase to 6.6%.’

Discounters Aldi and Lidl are also going from strength to strength: Aldi increased its sales by 11.6% in the 12-week period and Lidl saw sales rise 9.5%.

Both chains are benefiting from opening more stores as well as an increased spend per customer.

‘Aldi and Lidl continue to grow – not only are both continuing to expand their store estates but existing customers are visiting more frequently and upping their basket size,’ McKevitt explained.

‘The discounters are helping drive the industry-wide growth in premium own-label lines, with marketing campaigns moving away from showcasing only price to a focus on quality – collectively, premium own label grew by 29.5% in the discounters this period,’ McKevitt added.

‘Shoppers now spend an average of £19.24 when visiting the discount retailers and at a time of falling prices this increase of 4% is not to be sniffed at.’