Tesco Christmas Golden Mince Pies

Tesco Christmas Golden Mince Pies

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Supermarkets enjoyed the busiest Christmas since before the pandemic as a record £13.7bn passed through their tills over the crucial December trading period, according to data released this morning.

Total take-home grocery sales grew in value by 7% in the four weeks to 24 December, while volumes rose 2%, said marketing data and analytics company Kantar.

The rise was fuelled by the 488 million trips made to stores by customers over the festive period - 12 million more than last year and the largest number at Christmas since pre-pandemic times. And the average household spent an all-time high of £477 across the month, an increase of £28 on 2022.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, called this Christmas “a whopper” for supermarkets.

Friday 22 December turned out to be the most popular shopping day, when just more than 25 million trips made and consumers spending £803m in physical stores – 85% more than the average Friday in 2023. Online’s share of the market held steady at 11.6%, as almost one in five households booked a delivery in time for Christmas Day.

Grocery price inflation fell to 6.7% in the period, marking the fastest month on month drop that Kantar has recorded and the lowest level since April 2022.

“The rate of inflation is coming down at the fastest pace we have ever recorded, but consumers are still facing pretty hefty pressures on their budgets,” McKevitt said.

“Retailers were clearly working hard during the festive period to offer best value and win over shoppers, and promotions were central to their strategy. Nearly one third of all spend in the four weeks to Christmas Eve was made on items with some kind of offer, the highest level since December 2020 and £823m more than last year.”

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose accounted for a combined market share of 70% during the 12 weeks to 24 December, while the discounters Aldi and Lidl hit their highest ever market shares for the Christmas period at 7.7% and 9.3% respectively.

Sainsbury’s reached its highest market share since December 2020 at 15.8%, pushing up its sales by 9.3%. Tesco gained 0.1 percentage points of share to now hold 27.6% of the market and grew sales by 7.5%.

Meanwhile, Asda and Morrisons increased sales by just more than 3% but both saw market share fall to 13.6% and 8.8% respectively.

Lidl increased sales by 13.8%, while Aldi saw growth of 9.9%. And Co-op recorded a 3.8% increase in sales since last year, Waitrose saw a 1% rise in the number of shoppers over the 12-week period and frozen specialist Iceland’s sales increased by 2.9%.

“The traditional retailers always tend to do well in the run up to Christmas and this year was no exception,” McKevitt added. “Supermarkets saw especially strong performances for their own-label lines, with sales of premium ranges like Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference and Tesco Finest surging by 11.9% compared with last year to hit £790m – accounting for 5.7% of all grocery sales.”

Branded sales rose by 6% during the same period.

Morning update

The FTSE 100 is up 0.2% to 7,734.50pts this morning.

Tesco shares jumped 0.9% to 295.8p on the latest Kantar data, while Sainsbury’s is up 1.6% to 303.5p, Marks & Spencer rose 0.9% to 278.4p and Ocado slumped 1.9% to 725.7p.

Other risers this morning included property investor Supermarket Income REIT, up 2.6% to 88.5p, C&C Group, up 2.3% to 149.8p, and Science in Sport, up 2% to 12p.

Naked Wines is down another 2.4% to 55.7p, Cranswick fell 2.2% to 3,714p in the early going and THG is down 1.7% to 73.5p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed the day down 0.2% to 7,715.80pts.

Big fmcg risers included McBride, up 4.6% to 81.6p, Glanbia, up 5.2% to €15.04, and Bakkavor, up 3.1% to 83.5p.

It was mixed fortunes for the two listed supermarkets after Aldi and Lidl announced record Christmas sales. Tesco climbed 0.7% to 292.5p, while Sainsbury’s fell 1.1% to 299.3p despite a positive start to the day. Marks & Spencer jumped 1.5% to 276.4p, with Ocado sinking 2.6% to 739p.

THG got off to a bad start in 2024, falling 10.6% to 76.1p, while Fever-Tree Drinks also dropped 3.5% to 1,012.6p.