Indies see small sales boost despite inflation

Retailers and independents have seen a sales drop in real terms, according to Kantar

Eggs generic

Despite inflation standing at 14.4%, symbols and independents only saw a sales boost of 1.8% year on year.

Data from global insights company Kantar has shown that, in the 12 weeks to 6 August 2023, symbols and independents saw sales rise from the £494m in the 12 weeks to 7 August 2022 to £503m in the same period this year.

This year, symbols and independents held a 1.5% share of total grocers, down from 1.6% last year.

Across all grocers, take-home grocery sales increased by 6.5% year-on-year, while grocery price inflation has fallen by 12.7% for the four weeks to 6 August 2023, down from 10.4%.

Despite prices being up year-on-year across supermarket shelves, staple items such as milk have seen a price decrease ­– four pints of milk were £1.50 last month, compared to £1.69 in March.

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Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said the slowdown in price rises is “the second sharpest monthly fall” since the company began monitoring grocery inflation in 2008. 

“Consumers will have been relieved to see the cost of some staple goods starting to edge down compared with earlier in 2023. The average cost of a litre of sunflower oil is now £2.19, 22p less than in the spring.”

Own-label goods remain popular as sales saw a 9.7% boost, while branded products increased by 6.4%, with McKevitt noting “the gap between the two is closing”.

Prices are rising fastest across categories such as eggs, frozen potato products and sugar confectionery, with this figure based on over 75,000 identical products compared year-on-year.

Weather-impacted sales

The damper weather in July “put a spanner in the works”, said McKevitt, as ice cream sales dropped by 30%, and soup sales rose by 16%.

He added: “Cooler temperatures and a wetter than average month may have also put people off from venturing to the shops. Footfall was down for the first time in 18 months with people making 320,000 fewer trips to physical supermarkets than a year ago.”

In a sign there may be opportunity for retailers to fill the gap of Wilko, reportedly soon-to-be in administration, 7.6m households were revealed to have bought groceries from the home retailer in the last year.

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