Demand for festive food is lagging behind last year’s levels, with sales of Christmas puddings, tins of biscuits and other seasonal specials down so far.
The Guardian says that a combination of “wet weather and poll jitters” have caused supermarket sales growth to slow to 0.5% over the past 12 weeks.
Sales of puddings and biscuits are down 16% and 12%, respectively, in the past four weeks, compared with 2018. Customers are also shopping less frequently, skipping one visit to the supermarket over the three months to 1 December.
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The data from Kantar showed only 5% of Black Friday shoppers bought something from one of the supermarkets, amid warnings of “promotion fatigue”.
The Times points out that the shift is a “stark change” from five years ago when there were “stampedes in Asda supermarkets and fights over cut-price flatscreen TVs”.
In a rare glimpse of festive consumerism, spending on advent calendars rose slightly over the past four weeks at £28m, and sales of party food were up 7%.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons lost market share during the period, despite their stature as the market’s “big four”. Lidl enjoyed sales growth of 9.3% and Aldi reported growth of 6.2%.
Fraser McKevitt, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight, said: “We’re yet to see consumers ramp up their spending in the run-up to Christmas, and Black Friday only brought a limited boost for the grocers.”
Turning to the fortunes of the big four, he said that: “Based on previous years, we expect them to increase their proportion of sales in the coming weeks as shoppers turn to familiar favourites and the traditional retailers in December.”
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