Buoyant supermarket sales fend off Brexit blues

Supermarket sales grew at their fastest rate for two-and-a-half years in the 12 weeks to 26 February, the latest Kantar data shows, with almost every major retailer enjoying a bump in sales.

Buoyant supermarket sales fend off Brexit blues

The boost to the industry came despite inflation doubling since last month to 1.4% – a figure that analysts predict could rise further as the weaker pound increases the cost of imports.

Of the nine largest supermarkets, only Asda saw a decline year-on-year, with sales down 0.8% – but this figure, the smallest decline for the Walmart-owned brand since November 2014, was still a huge improvement. Asda’s sales were down 4.7% as recently as December.

Sainsbury’s and Tesco managed modest sales growth of 0.3% and 0.6% respectively, but Morrisons continued its turnaround under chief executive David Potts with growth of 2.6% – its fastest in five years, and above the overall industry figure of 2.3%. It was also the only one of the "big four" supermarkets to hold its market share, which remains at 10.6%.

The discounters, Aldi and Lidl enjoyed another period of double-digit growth, with Lidl overtaking its German rival as the fastest grower – 13% to Aldi’s 12.9%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said that while post-Brexit inflation was starting to make itself felt, the picture was complicated.

He said: "Like-for-like inflation has doubled since last month to stand at 1.4% during the past 12 weeks. However, when placed in their longer-term context, these price increases are still fairly minimal.

"Staples such as butter, tea and fish all saw prices rise by more than 5% during the past 12 weeks, as fruit and vegetables – many of which are imported – also saw an uptick in price.  

"However, it’s important to point out that inflation is still far from universal, with prices actually falling across a number of categories including crisps, bacon and eggs. While consumers may be starting to feel a very slight pinch, increased inflation has led to overall market growth."

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).