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Britain's Grocery Sales Growth Slows As Lockdown Eased

Grocery sales in Britain rose by 10% year-on-year in the four weeks to 11 July, slowing from previous weeks, as Covid-19 restrictions were eased to allow hospitality and leisure outlets to reopen in England, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Market researcher Nielsen said the growth was down from 14% in last month's report. The government allowed pubs, cafes and restaurants in England to reopen on 4 July, giving people an alternative to eating at home.

Nielsen said online grocery purchases leapt by 115% year-on-year, accounting for a record 14% of all grocery spending in the United Kingdom.

Morrisons was the best performer of Britain's so-called big four supermarket groups in the 12 weeks to 11 July, with sales growth of 15.7%, followed by market leader Tesco, with growth of 12%, and No. 2 Sainsbury's, with growth of 10.2%. Walmart-owned Asda was again the laggard, with growth of 8.7%.

'Big Four's Growth'

The big four's growth was dwarfed by Iceland, whose sales surged by 30.4% as shoppers bought more frozen food.

German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl saw a marginal loss of market share, partly reflecting their lack of a major online offer.

Looking at the full 16 week UK lockdown period, Nielsen said shoppers spent a total of £49 billion ($62 billion) on groceries, tobacco and general merchandise - an extra 3.2 billion pounds compared with the same period last year.

Shopping habits also changed, with the number of visits down, but the amount spent on each visit was up. Regarding incremental spend, Nielsen found that 47% of this was made at convenience stores.

News by Reuters edited by Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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