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UK grocery sales fall as fuel crisis keeps shoppers at home

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

UK grocery sales fall as fuel crisis keeps shoppers at home

(Sharecast News) - UK grocery sales were curtailed by the fuel crisis last month, industry data showed, while inflationary pressures continued to mount.
According to research by consultancy Kantar, take-home grocery sales fell by 1.2% in the 12 weeks to 3 October, with the average household making 15.5 visits to supermarkets in the past four weeks. That is the lowest monthly figure since February, when the country was in lockdown.

Kantar said that on Friday 24 September, visits to petrol stations soared 66% as drivers tried to top up ahead of the weekend.

"The reduced availability of petrol saw shoppers limit the number of trips they made to supermarkets," confirmed Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

But while sales fell, prices rose. Grocery inflation was 0.9% in the 12 weeks to 3 October, with prices rising fastest in savoury snacks and cat food, and falling in fresh bacon, vegetables and dog treats.

In the last four weeks prices, were up 1.7% year-on-year.

McKevitt said: "In real-world terms, the average household had to spend an extra £5.94 on groceries last month than they did at the same time last year. The typical household spends £4,726 per year in the supermarkets, so any future price rises will quickly add up."

Among individual grocers, Tesco was the only big name to report sales growth, up 1.2% in the 12-week period. That helped nudge its market share up to 27.5%, the highest since February 2019.

In contrast, J Sainsbury's reported a 1.5% decline in sales, while Asda's sales fell 1.7% and Wm Morrison Supermarkets' were 4.0% lower. Sales at Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, were flat.

Online, and overall penetration edged up to 12.4% in September from to 12.2%, reversing a seven-month run of falls.

Ocado reported a 5.9% slide in sales in the 12-week period, although the group still has the highest two-year increase of any retailer, with sales up 35.9%.

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