(Sharecast News) - UK grocery sales jumped in September, industry data showed on Tuesday, as more stringent restrictions were introduced to tackle the resurgence in Covid-19.
According to the latest market share data from Kantar, take-home grocery sales rose 9.4% in the 12 weeks to 4 October, and by 10.6% in the last four weeks.
Online sales were ahead 76% year-on-year, with one in five households now ordering from the internet, while alcohol sales were worth £261m more to grocers in September.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "Shoppers are moving a greater proportion of their eating and drinking back into the home. This is likely in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates, greater restrictions on opening hours in the hospitality sector, and the end of the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme."
But he insisted that stockpiling was not on the increase. "The seven days from 21 to 27 September were the busiest since March, with 107m trips recorded. But that was nowhere near the 175m seen just prior to the national lockdown."
Sales of toilet roll and flour still rose by 64% and 73% respectively, however.
The Kantar data echoed that of Nielsen, also published on Tuesday. Its total till sales growth in the four weeks to 3 October rose to 8.3% from 5.6%. Sales of beer, wine and spirits rose 17%, the fastest growing category, while demand for disinfectant and toilet tissues was also strong.
In the last 12 weeks, 10.6m consumers did their grocery shop online, Nielsen found, up from 7.2m a year previously.
However, Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, said: "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.
"While 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."
Of individual retailers, Kantar said Ocado was the only one to increase shopper numbers in the latest period, adding 22,000 customers. "Its new partnership with Marks & Spencer is no doubt part of the appeal," said McKevitt. "Since it started to sell M&S products on 1 September, two-thirds of Ocado shoppers have ordered Percy Pigs at some point."
However, Waitrose - Ocado's former partner - kept pace with its own online offer, and grew in-store sales as well. Overall sales increased 8.9%.
Tesco maintained its market share year-on-year for the second consecutive period, holding 26.9% of the market, after its sales increased 9.2%. Wm Morrison's share nudged marginally higher to 10.1% as sales grew 11.5%, while J Sainsbury's market share was 14.9% on the back of sales growth of 6.8%. Asda, which is being sold to the billionaire Issa brothers in a. £6.8bn deal, saw sales improve by 5.2%
Kantar said its measure of grocery inflation now stood at 1.9% for the 12 weeks to 4 October, with prices rising fastest in the canned cola, ice cream and household cleaners markets. The biggest price falls were seen in vegetables, bread and fresh poultry.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "In light of how things are progressing with respect to the health emergency, the demand for groceries is likely to remain robust."
(Sharecast News) - NCC Group: Canaccord upgrades to buy with a target price of 318p.