Improved weather helped drive sales of fresh produce during a better month for the UK grocery trade.

Year-on-year growth across the supermarkets for the four weeks to 6 August stood at 3.7%, according to data from Nielsen. That represented a major improvement on the 1.9% growth notched up by the major multiples for the previous monthly period.

Volumes continued to decline – down 0.8% on a year ago but still representing a less severe dip than the 1.7% fall seen the previous month.

“The grocery multiples have had a pretty good month,” said Mike Watkins, senior manager of retailer services at Nielsen. “With many areas of the country enjoying more settled warm weather, there have been more opportunities for outdoors eating and entertaining.

Fresh foods – including chilled meats and bakery – grew strongly, while there was double-digit growth of sales in the drinks aisle.

Watkins added: “Supermarkets are having to battle hard for customer loyalty. Shoppers continue to put a limit on their overall spend and are taking advantage of promotional offers, price cuts, coupons and now fuel discounting.”

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