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Source: Spar

Its busiest days during the four-week period were Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

Spar enjoyed an uptick in sales over the festive period as consumers continued to shop locally.

The symbol group said consumers had maintained shopping habits formed during the pandemic, with sales for the four weeks to 2 January up 2.3% on last year, and 13.2% compared with two years ago.

MD Louise Hoste put the “buoyant” Christmas trade down to “the location of stores, a well-stocked range and great availability”.

Its busiest days during the four-week period were Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in terms of both value sales and the number of transactions, she added.

“Our Christmas trading results are confirmation of how Spar continues to lead the convenience store and symbol market,” said Hoste. “According to Nielsen Scantrack data, in the four weeks to 1 January, the convenience store market was up 2.1% and symbols as a whole were down 2.5%. Our year-on-year sales grew by 2.3%.”

Its trading update also revealed total grocery sales rose by 14% compared to the year before.

Within the category, medicines were up 47%, with cold and flu remedies driving the growth. Ambient soups were up 26% and crisps and snack sales grew by 19%. Fresh sales grew by 7.1%.

Spar own brand enjoyed a strong performance, up 5.4% year on year and 26% over the past two years. Its own-label Christmas packaged lines and new party food lines performed particularly well, it said.

“Spar brand continues to deliver growth,” added Hoste. “It is worth over £350m annually and is the twentieth-biggest selling food brand in the UK.

“We have a great pipeline of development, covering a number of categories, coming up in the next few months, and have had a great response from shoppers to our relaunched paperware range.”