UK off-trade sales enjoy 17% growth

13 October, 2020

The beer, wine and spirits category remained the star performer in the UK retail sector as it enjoyed 17% growth in the four weeks to October 3.

The total grocery channel saw an 8.3% uplift in sales compared to the previous year, according to Nielsen. It attributed the growth to Brits continuing to work from home and the end of the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme.

The alcoholic drinks category grew faster than any other, followed by frozen goods, which grew 16%. Total online grocery sales are also up 91%, suggesting that the increased demand for ecommerce shopping shows no signs of abating.  

Morrisons was the best performing “big four” retailer, with sales up 8.7% in the 12 weeks to October 3. Lidl also grew year-on-year sales by 14% following the launch of its new loyalty app.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “Since March, households in the UK have had to continually adjust to new ways of working, living and eating. This is reflected in the volatility of weekly FMCG sales.

“Yet, after many months of living with the pandemic, some shoppers are getting more accustomed to this ‘new normal’ and there hasn’t been any strong signs of stockpiling like we had earlier in the year.

“Whilst shoppers are slowly becoming more comfortable returning to stores, online remains the biggest winner and a third of shoppers who shopped online in the last 12 weeks are new to online.

“Shoppers who first shopped online in the early summer are staying online and making repeat purchases, which means online is likely to take an even bigger share of sales as we head into the festive period, and we expect it to hit around 15% of all FMCG  sales over the next few months.”

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