Data from Nielsen shows supermarkets in the UK sustained small but positive growth in February, with total till sales rising by 0.7%.
Whilst the wet and windy weather caused some short-term disruption mid-month, sales growth peaked at 1.6% during the week ending 15 February. Valentine’s Day helped to boost sales.
In terms of retailer performance over the 12 weeks to 22 February, Nielsen’s data showed that Sainsbury’s (+0.6%) was once again the only supermarket amongst the Big Four to experience growth, helped by new shoppers, more visits and the launch of its ‘Nectar Prices’ promotion.
Sales at Lidl remained strong, growing by 10.5%, helped by recent new store openings. The Co-op (+2.4%), Marks & Spencer (+1.3%) and Iceland (+1.7%) also experienced increases in sales. Meanwhile, online grocery experienced a growth of 6%.
Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight, said: “British grocery retailers will be pleased that since experiencing the lowest growth over the Christmas period since 2014, it appears that we are finally starting to see the green shoots of improvement.”
He highlighted that whilst consumers remain uncertain about their spending intentions, the results from Valentine’s Day prove that they continue to ‘trade up’ for events and are still willing to spend on premium food and indulgences.
Watkins concluded: “Despite dominating headlines, the impact from the spread of the coronavirus has so far been limited, at this point restricted to a growth in sales for multi-purpose surface cleaners, which are up 8% over the last four weeks.