Sales of Christmas puddings down on 2018

Supermarket data shows slump in demand for festive food

christmas pudding
Christmas pudding
(Image credit: (Carl Court/AFP via Getty Images))

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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