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UK lockdown drives fastest growth in grocery sales for over 25 years

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    Reuters

London   /   Wed, May 27, 2020   /   03:46 pm
UK lockdown drives fastest growth in grocery sales for over 25 years Tape to keep social distancing is seen on the floor of a Tesco store in Richmond South West London as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 24. United Kingdom grocery sales rose by 14.3 percent during the 12 weeks to May 17, the fastest rate since comparable records began in 1994, as Britons adapted to the national lockdown, data from market researcher Kantar showed on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

United Kingdom grocery sales rose by 14.3 percent during the 12 weeks to May 17, the fastest rate since comparable records began in 1994, as Britons adapted to the national lockdown, data from market researcher Kantar showed on Wednesday.

The period included both the pre-lockdown rush to the shops in March, and eight weeks of stay-at-home advice from the government.

The UK has been in lockdown since March 23 though restrictions are being gradually eased.

Of Britain’s big four grocers, industry leader Tesco was the best performer with sales up 12.7 percent, closely followed by No. 2 player Sainsbury’s with a 12.5 percent increase. No. 4 Morrisons’ sales rose 9.8 percent, while Walmart owned Asda was the laggard with a 6.5 percent increase.

The overall star performer was the Co-operative, the No. 6 player, with a sales increase of 30.8 percent.

Kantar said that in the most recent four week period to May 17 grocery sales growth accelerated to 17.2 percent year-on-year as the government announced the first stage of easing lockdown restrictions.

In the most recent four weeks, the trend towards fewer, larger shops evident in April continued. Kantar said shoppers visited a supermarket 3.5 times per week on average, meaning 100 million fewer trips overall than the same month last year, and increased their spend each trip to 27.41 pounds (US$33.7) – nearly 50 percent more than they did during pre-crisis times.