UK shoppers return to supermarkets as online spending slows

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Shoppers have flocked to supermarkets over the past three months, buying more often and moving away from ordering groceries online as fears of the Covid-19 pandemic melted.

Britons made 58 million more visits to supermarkets in the 12 weeks to May 16, compared to the same time in 2020, as the vaccination schedule gave people increased confidence to venture out.

The return to more usual habits has affected sales at local convenience stores, which fell just over a quarter from last year – when the UK was in the midst of lockdown restrictions to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Online grocery sales fell to 13.4% of the total in the three months to May 16, from more than 15.4% in March, according to the latest data from market analysts Kantar.

Overall sales of home groceries fell 0.4% in the three months after restaurants and pubs reopened and fewer people worked from home or stayed on leave.

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Fraser McKevitt, Head of Retail at Kantar, said: “As the lockdown eases, people are going back to more normal ways and we can see this in grocery sales. Many of us at this time of last year ate all of our meals at home so we bought extra food and drink. Now we are seeing takeaway sales drop compared to 2020 as people can eat in restaurants, pubs and cafes and can pick up food on the go, like having a sandwich, for example. , while they are away at the weekend. “

Behavior changes are also reflected in what people buy: sales of hairdressing products increased by 26%, shoe care products like shoe polish increased by 50%, and mouthwashes increased by 16%. . Busier social schedules have increased the consumption of ready-made meals by a fifth.

The change in behavior was bad news for the co-op, Iceland and the independents, where sales slipped. In contrast, discounters Aldi and Lidl have gained market share, reversing the trend of recent months, with shoppers feeling more secure shopping for a bargain, rather than sticking to a department store or to online delivery.


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