Sales growth in the major supermarkets and health and beauty retailers has slowed to just 2%, according to the IRI supermarket review.
The figures for the second quarter of the year compared badly to the 5% growth in the same period last year and the first quarter of 2004.
Poor sales from Sainsbury and Safeway contributed to the slowing market, said IRI retail account manager, Jake Sudlow.
“Within the sector there were strong and weak performers,” he said. “Tesco and Asda were leading the way with considerable sales growth, but Safeway and Sainsbury are bringing the figures down.”
There were winners and losers in the various categories as well. Non-food helped drive overall growth with a 6.1% sales increase on the same quarter last year but grocery was only fractionally ahead by 0.4%.
Sudlow said: “Some categories are suffering from a really successful summer last year where exceptionally hot weather helped sales. This year, growth looks worse for sectors like fresh meat and chilled.”
However, chilled was still able to drive grocery sales, with sandwiches experiencing the biggest growth, up 12.4%.
Sudlow put the success down to the sector’s performance in the multiples’ convenience stores and sales gained from the decline in consumer demand for frozen food.
Beer, wines and spirits sales grew 4.4%, but the overall category suffered because of a 14.5% decline in the ‘other beers, wines and spirits’ sector. IRI largely attributed this to the stagnation of the ready to drink sector.
All till sales from Asda, Co-ops, Iceland, Safeway, Sainsbury, Somerfield/Kwik-Save, Tesco, Waitrose and Boots are analysed by IRI for its supermarket review.