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UK grocery sales drop as lockdown lifts

22 July 2020

Industry data shows that grocery sales in the UK rose 14.6 percent year-on-year in the four weeks to 12 July, slower than previous weeks.

Reuters reports that the slump in grocery sales comes as the UK’s lockdown restrictions were eased. Starting on 4 July, hospitality and leisure outlets were permitted to reopen, including the critical food service sector. This gave people an alternative to eating at home.

Market research agency Kantar said that sales growth was down from 18.9 percent in last month’s report. The data suggests that many consumers were slowly returning to pre-lockdown shopping habits.

“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,” said Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight.

McKevitt warned that circumstances had not returned to normal. Shopper visits to supermarkets were still 15 percent lower and the average spent per trip was £20.05, 35 percent more than the same time period in 2019. Online sales rose 92 percent and account for 13 percent of all grocery sales in the UK.

Kantar reports that grocery inflation was 3.6 percent over the 12 weeks, with prices rising fastest in markets such as cooking sauces, fresh bacon and canned colas while falling in fresh poultry, butter and bread.

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