Supermarkets are hoping for a bumper Platinum Jubilee spending spree
Supermarkets are keeping their fingers and toes firmly crossed that the weather stays nice for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday and customers push the boat out on barbecue food and fizz.
According to analysts at Kantar, grocery sales for the 12 weeks to the middle of May were less dire than the previous month but they still weren’t pretty.
Volume sales were down by double digits compared with this time last year while food price inflation is currently running at 7%, its highest level since 2009.
In its survey of more than 9,000 shoppers, Kantar said almost a quarter of households described themselves as ‘struggling to make ends meet’, with food prices a concern for nine out of 10 people.
Only a third of consumers considered themselves to be in a ‘comfortable’ financial position, with 43% of households saying they were ‘managing’.
Nowhere is this more obvious than at the tills, where shoppers are managing their budgets by deserting many of the big supermarkets.
Only Tesco (TSCO) has managed to retain customers, mainly due to its low pricing and its Clubcard offers, with sales to the middle of May down 3.1% compared with a 4.4% drop for the overall market.
Sainsbury’s (SBRY), Asda and Morrisons all fared far worse, with sales down 6.7%, 8.7% and 9.5% respectively, while Aldi and Lidl both saw their sales grow by around 6%.
In terms of market share, Tesco has gained ground slightly compared with 2021 to take 27.4% of grocery spending, but Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have all lost ground with Asda suffering the most by some way.
In contrast, Aldi and Lidl now represent 15.9% of the market compared with 14.3% this time a year ago and jointly account for a greater share than any retailer bar Tesco.
Meanwhile, the whole sector is pinning its hopes on four days of celebrations to boost its fortunes this bank holiday weekend.
‘Looking back at the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, we saw a 10% boost in supermarket sales during the week leading up to the festivities. We should never underestimate the appetite for a party, especially a royal one,’ says Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight.
‘Summer refreshments were top of the shopping list and both alcohol and soft drink sales shot up. Beer sales rose by 23%, sparkling wine sales more than doubled, and colas grew by 17%.
‘Just like 10 years ago, we expect barbeques to be fired up across the country and drive demand for anything that goes on the grill. In classic Jubilee style, indulgent desserts are also expected to prove popular this year,’ he adds.