Sales in independent convenience stores are struggling to keep pace with inflation, according to new data from Kantar.
Figures for the four weeks to 19 February show that despite grocery price inflation hitting 17.1%, independents have only seen a 1.8% year-on-year increase for their grocery sales over the 12 weeks to 19 February.
The twelve weeks saw independent stores take £499m in grocery sales, compared with £490m in the same period the year before. Figures for the only other standalone convenience retailer analysed, Co-op, was also struggling to keep pace, achieving 3.4% sales growth.
The data means £1.50 in every £100 of grocery spend took place in an independent convenience store, compared to £1.60 for the same period last year.
Only the German discounters Aldi and Lidl managed growth above the rate of grocery inflation, delivering 26.7% and 25.4% YOY sales uplifts respectively.
In a sign of areas for independent stores to focus on, own label remained a key battleground, with growth of the own-branded products up 13.2% in the last month. Kantar’s head of retailer and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt added the trend ‘shows little sign of stopping.’
Stats for Valentine’s Day sales also revealed opportunities for independents and major grocers alike to grow sales through upcoming events such as Mother’s Day and Easter. Sales data suggested vast numbers of cash-strapped customers avoided restaurants in favour of buying meals from grocers.
McKevitt revealed steak sales jumped 25% in the week running up to Valentine’s Day while chilled ready meals were up 33%. Other winners were sparkling wine (100% increase) and boxed chocolates (£5m more purchased this year).