Supermarkets enjoy £3.3bn festive boost as Christmas sales up 8%

The UK's troubled supermarket industry recieved a welcome boost over the Christmas period as consumers spent £3.3bn during the week ending Boxing Day, an 8 per cent uplift compared to the same period a year ago.

According to Neilsen, which collated the data, supermarket sales during Christmas week were 43 per cent higher than in an average week, when around £2.3bn is spent.

As expected, the discounters reaped the majority of the reward with Aldi’s sales up 20.6 per cent during the final 12 weeks of 2015 year-on-year, whilst Lidl’s were up 17.9 per cent.

In contrast, among the Big Four, Sainsbury’s was up 0.2 per cent whilst Asda (-4.2 per cent), Morrisons (-2.7 per cent) and Tesco (-2.0 per cent ), all declined. However, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s performance was better than the same period a year ago.

However, Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight said the discounters shouldn't be counting their chickens just yet. “The discounters saw a surge of new shoppers in December. However, there was a slowdown in the growth of their basket spend compared to Q3, indicating they’re not immune to a fightback from the Big Four.”

In the four weeks ending 2 January 2016, the number of items in the average Aldi (+1.5 per cent) and Lidl (4.7 per cent) basket increased versus a year ago, however, the average cost per item dropped (-2.3 per cent and -3.2 per cent, respectively).

Watkins added: “The average price per item fell more at Aldi and Lidl than it did across the industry as a whole. So, whilst people are buying more items from the discounters, they're actually saving money.”

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