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Weaker-than-expected growth in the month of October is putting retailers under pressure as Christmas approaches.
Weaker-than-expected growth in the month of October is putting retailers under pressure as Christmas approaches.

UK Grocers 'under pressure' as Christmas approaches


ESM - Dec 4th 2018, 10:25

Weaker-than-expected growth in the month of October is putting retailers under pressure as Christmas approaches, according to Nielsen. 

According to the data firm, grocery spend in October was half of what it was last year, at 1.5%. The corresponding growth in sales in October 2017 was 3.1%.

Inflation is broadly in line with this time last year, Nielsen noted.

The period did see the first signs of seasonal uplift, however, in the beers, wines and spirits category, which saw value growth of 4.9%, and 8% for sparkling wines.

Media Campaigns

Commenting on the figures, Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, said, “Both in-store promotions and media campaigns are more crucial than ever for the supermarkets this Christmas, to entice shoppers into their stores and ramp up consumer spending."

“With weaker-than-expected growth in October, the industry is under pressure to get shoppers into the habit of spending more over the next six weeks by showcasing what’s new and different in store,” added Watkins.

The month of November is expected to see the impact of Christmas campaigns on the retail sector, however, Nielsen noted that, as of the end of October, above-the-line spend was 13% lower than last year.

“We expect to see some inspiring and distinctive campaigns, designed to drive sales, as retailers will be focused on pulling consumers in over the festive period,” Watkins added.

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