Retail

UK Supermarkets' Sales Of General Merchandise Dip Ahead Of Festive Season: NIQ

By Donna Ahern
UK Supermarkets' Sales Of General Merchandise Dip Ahead Of Festive Season: NIQ

Sales of general merchandise, such as Halloween items, toys and clothing, fell 4.9% on the year at major UK supermarkets in the four weeks to 4 November, as shoppers preserved their spending power ahead of the festive season, recent industry data showed.

Market researcher NIQ said total supermarket sales rose 8.7% over the same period, against a backdrop of slowing inflation and an increase in promotional activity - 24% of sales, up from 21% last year.

Sales on a volume basis, or the number of items sold, fell 0.2%, continuing an improving trend after a 0.4% drop in NIQ's October report.

The NIQ sales data going into November provides the most up-to-date snapshot of UK consumer behaviour.

Strong Sales Growth 

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Echoing data from rival market researcher Kantar last week, NIQ said market leader Tesco, no. 2 Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer had strong sales growth over the 12 weeks to 4 November, up 9.6%, 10% and 14.4% respectively.

The researcher said discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to grow market share with sales growth of 17.7% and 19.1% respectively.

According to NIQ, food price inflation in October fell for the sixth month in a row to 8.8%. Food prices rose slightly in month-on-month terms after the first such fall in more than two years in September.

'Golden Quarter'

Despite recent macro data and a raft of consumer surveys being downbeat, retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Next, Primark and M&S have all made confident comments about prospects in the so called 'Golden Quarter'.

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NIQ estimates that over the 12 weeks to 30 December, Britons will spend more than 37 billion pounds ($45.4 billion) at UK supermarkets, a 6.5% increase on last year.

Read More: UK Grocery Sales Show Improving Trend On Volume Basis: NIQ

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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