Supermarket grocery sales have slowed in the four weeks ending 10 November, according to insights company Nielsen.

While aggregate sales growth was up 2% year-on-year, in the previous four-week period (ending 24 October), growth had stood at 2.9%. Volume sales also slowed – growth stood at 0.8% compared with 0.9% for the previous four-week period.

“It’s been a rollercoaster year, so we’ve been forecasting a slow start to Christmas trading”, said Nielsen’s head of retailer insight Mike Watkins. “With so many money-off coupons available, consumers are already planning where to shop.” 

Food inflation had reached a two-year low in September, according to Nielsen, though its consumer confidence and spending intentions survey showed that shoppers were still cautious about spending.

“Looking ahead, differentiated and inspiring advertising which really connects with consumers is expected to play an important role in attracting shoppers in December”, added Watkins. “Particularly for the big Christmas purchasing trips from the 20 to 23 December, which could be the biggest four days of sales in food retailing in 2012.”