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Supermarket sales rise slows as pubs and restaurants reopen

Supermarket sales have risen £3.2billion to a new record high as people working from home splashed out on tea, coffee and biscuits.

Grocery sales for the 12 weeks to July 12 skyrocketed by 16.9 per cent to £31.6billion – the fastest increase since records began in 1994.

Shoppers spent an additional £24million on tea and coffee and £19million on biscuits as people worked from home.

Alcohol was the fastest growing category – up 41 per cent – followed by frozen food which grew 22 per cent.

But over the last four weeks of that period shoppers seemed to be be returning to normal habits, as sales growth slowed to 14.6 per cent.

Kantar’s monthly supermarket market share figures showed sales growth slowed as the reopening of pubs and restaurants affected momentum for food chains.

Morrisons was the strongest performer of the UK’s ‘big four’ grocers, as it reported a 17.4 per cent jump in sales over the period.

Meanwhile, Tesco reported 15.1 per cent growth, Sainsbury’s saw sales rise by 13.5 per cent, and Asda sales grew by 11 per cent.

Online retailer Ocado was another particularly strong performer, as sales rose by 45.5 per cent.

And the Co-op and Iceland both also saw strong demand, with sales jumping 30.6 per cent and 34.1 per cent respectively.

Sales from independent grocers and convenience stores also surged higher over the period.

Head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Fraser McKevitt said: ‘As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased and non-essential retail outlets re-open, some consumers are slowly resuming their pre-Covid routines and shopping habits.

‘This meant year-on-year supermarket sales growth decelerated in the most recent four weeks to 14.6 per cent, down from 18.9 per cent in June.

‘However, we are clearly a long way off a complete return to normality.

‘Footfall was still 15 per cent lower during the past four weeks and the average spend on a supermarket trip was £25.05, 35 per cent more than the same period last year, as most people continue to eat more meals and snacks at home.

‘Despite pubs, bars and restaurants re-opening recently, more than half of consumers say they are still uncomfortable with visiting a pub and 42 per cent with visiting a café or restaurant.

‘As a result, take-home alcohol sales were still up by 41 per cent this month as people were unable to or avoided drinking out.

‘The cost of working from home is also starting to add up for many. Shoppers spent an additional £24 million on tea and coffee during the past four weeks and £19 million on biscuits.

‘In comparison, sales of some products that were in huge demand as the nation entered lockdown in March are now only marginally higher than last year – with healthcare up by 2 per cent and household products by 3 per cent.’

Online sales also swelled 92 per cent over the past month, with growth marginally higher than last month.

Separate data from Nielsen revealed in the four weeks ending July 11 shoppers bought more alcohol, with sales of beers, wines and spirits up by 31 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales of frozen food grew by 19 per cent and meat, fish and poultry saw a 15 per cent rise in sales as warm weather led to barbecues across the country.

The figures come as it was revealed hundreds of staff at the Cooperative would be wearing body-worn security cameras after a spike in violence during lockdown.

The supermarket has rolled out personal safety gadgets which will record when shoppers become abusive and violent.

Workers at more than 500 stores have been given the gizmos – which hang round staff members’ necks.

The cameras are worn by police officers across the country, but increasingly shops are equipping staff and guards with them.

There has been a 40 per cent increase in violence and abuse against shop workers since lockdown began, according to the Association of Convenience Stores.

More than 2,000 Co-Op staff members have been assaulted in the last year, shocking figures reveal.

Earlier this month, a shop worker was knocked unconscious at a store in Markfield, Leicestershire.

Other staff members have reported being spat at – and told they would catch the coronavirus.

Paul Taylor-Burr, who works in Crawley, West Sussex, tweeted that he was threatened with a screwdriver, a hammer and needles.

The Co-Op rolled out the body-worn cameras throughout July. The footage feeds back to a control centre based in Belfast and gets passed on to the police.

Daniel Orm, who heads up the Co-Op’s security team, said: ‘Being connected to them in a shop can really help colleagues feel a lot safer.

‘They can even talk to the shop and call the police in if things are looking a little tricky!

‘It’s also great for monitoring and building up a portfolio of evidence against repeat offenders.

‘We’re also helping roll out body cameras and personal safety devices to around 500 shops now too and it’s great to see them go down so well.

‘The personal safety devices also connect with our team in Belfast and we’re even just testing out getting a live feed from the body cams connected to them too.’

The Co-Op’s food chief executive Jo Whitfield said: ‘The safety of our colleagues in stores is something I worry about week in, week out.

‘I continue to see the horrific stories of incidents that are happening in our shops, as well as tuning into the news every morning to hear of yet another stabbing or violent incident happening on our streets.’

Co-Op staff members praised the new safety gizmos on social media. Roan Irving, a store manager in Edinburgh, said: ‘Body cameras installed, training complete and new system working in store.

‘Co-Op UK colleagues already feeling safer and more confident.’

Area manager Christine Fossey wrote: ‘Body cameras have gone done a treat in Delce store. Great feedback from Co-Op UK colleagues.’

The supermarket is not the first in the UK to give staff members the special safety technology.

Sainsbury’s introduced neck-worn security cameras earlier this year to prevent their staff being attacked at work.

They were introduced in ‘a small number of stores’ where safety measures were considered necessary.

Shoppers spotted them – with some saying they feel intrusive.

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