Olympic success and hot weather drives best supermarket results in nearly 3 years

Olympic success and hot weather drives best supermarket results in nearly 3 years

Mineral water, hand-held ice cream, fresh beef burgers and sparkling wine see huge sales uplift

The hot weather and Britain’s success at the Olympics in Rio combined to generate the best year-on-year sales figures at the UK’s leading supermarkets for nearly three years.

During the four weeks ending 13 August 2016, the value of sales was up 0.9%¹ versus the same period a year ago – the best figure (excluding Easter and Xmas-inflated periods) since the four-weeks ending 9 November 2013 (1.7%). Sales volumes increased 1.0%¹ – the best figure for over 16 months (28 March 2015, 1.5%).

The stellar Team GB performances at the Olympics, combined with the hot weather, particularly in mid-July, helped supermarkets to their own personal best for some time. Brexit seems to have been replaced by an Olympic ‘feel-good’ factor among shoppers and there were more visits to buy food and drink in the last four weeks than this time last year, with most retailers benefiting from an increase in shopper penetration.

These figures would have been even better for the supermarkets  if not for the intense price competition, which is, of course, good news for consumers.

The amount of sales on promotional items fell further to 28% reflecting the big four supermarkets’ move to simplify the overall customer offer in response to the growth of the discounters by lowering the level of promotions and reducing multi buys, instead moving to permanent price cuts.

Mineral water, fresh burgers and sparkling wine see huge spikes

The strongest category performances were in the Soft Drinks category (sales up +9.3% year-on-year, notably mineral water sales up by 18.5%). This was followed by the Frozen category (+4.7%) driven by Ice-cream, within which, hand-held ice-cream sales had a phenomenal 41% rise.

Produce (up +4.1%) saw a notable 15% increase in strawberry sales and, within Fresh Food, a 19% rise in sales of fresh beef burgers.

Beers, Wine & Spirits (+3.0%) also saw a highly improved performance. Within BWS, sales of Beer & Cider soared +6.9%, whilst Champagne sales rose +4.9% and Sparkling Wine continued its double-digit growth with a huge +13.9% hike in sales.

All figures are from Nielsen Homescan Total Till unless otherwise stated
¹Source: Nielsen Scantrack Grocery Multiples