Belfast Telegraph

Slowdown of price rises at supermarkets a promising sign for hard-hit shoppers

By Josie Clarke

Hard-pressed supermarket shoppers could soon start to see upward prices easing off one year on from the EU referendum, figures suggest.

Like-for-like inflation has stabilised at 3.2% - the same rate of increase as this time last month, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "Robust market growth has been boosted by higher grocery inflation, but consumers will be pleased to hear that price rises are no longer accelerating.

"One year on from the EU referendum, which had a marked impact on the price of imported groceries, hard-pressed shoppers could soon start to feel upward pricing pressures ease."

Supermarkets benefited from June's hot spell, with sales up 3.9% compared with the same time last year.

They have also seen market growth of more than 3% for the fourth consecutive period, according to the figures from Kantar for the 12 weeks to July 16.

Ice cream sales were up 34% in June alone, while sales of suncare products increased by 40% year-on-year as Britons enjoyed the unexpected sunshine.

Shoppers spent an additional £158m on alcohol over the 12-week period, and fruit and vegetable sales were also up 7% to an extra £170m.

Mr McKevitt said: "June's hot spell was good news for UK grocers, with sales particularly buoyant around the hottest day in June for some 40 years."

Lidl was once again Britain's fastest-growing supermarket, increasing sales by 19.4% - its strongest growth since October 2014 and taking its market share to a record high of 5.1%.

Aldi's sales grew by 17.9%, increasing its share of the market by 0.8 percentage points to 7%.

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons saw sales increases of 2.3%, 2.2% and 2.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, Asda attracted an additional 398,000 new shoppers to increase sales by 1% year on year.

And last month, Kantar Worldpanel's figures for the 52 weeks ending June 18 showed that Tesco had the biggest share of the supermarket sector here, at 34.9%. And it enjoyed sales growth of 3.2% during the period.

Sainsbury's tied with Asda with both claiming a 17.3% share, though sales growth was down 0.5% and 0.2% respectively. But Lidl enjoyed 8.1% in sales growth and a share of 5.4%.

Figures from analysts Nielsen showed shoppers spent 5.1% more on groceries during the four weeks to June 15 than the same time last year - the highest year-on-year rise for at least four years.

Shoppers also made 4% more grocery trips to supermarkets compared with the same period last year, when the weather was cool and wet and sales fell.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen's UK head of retailer and business insight, said: "Various factors typically drive extra spend in grocery shopping - more disposable income, more promotions, peak events and changes in weather and lifestyle.

"However, the first two have been falling in recent times, which shows the impact that hot weather and big sporting events such as Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, the British and Irish Lions rugby tour and the women's cricket World Cup had on people's purse strings."

Belfast Telegraph