Supermarket sales have increased 1.1% compared to the same period for last year, according to new data from analyst Kantar WorldPanel.
The data, for the 12 weeks ending March 27, 2016, represent the fastest growth in the sector this year.
“An early Easter gave the market a sales boost of £152 million compared to last year, adding 0.6% to the overall growth rate,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail consumer insight at Kantar. “Britain’s love of all things sweet was in evidence, with 63% of households buying at least one chocolate egg during March, spending an average of £12 over the month. Over half of the population bought hot cross buns, while 15% purchased a fresh leg of lamb for their Easter celebrations.”
Sector leader Tesco had reason to celebrate after its decline lessened for the fourth month in a row, with sales now down 0.2% year-on-year. “A small increase in shopper numbers suggests Tesco could return to growth in the next few months; welcome news after 12 months in decline. Partly hindered by previously announced store closures, Tesco’s market share fell by 0.3% points to 28.1%,” said McKevitt.
Meanwhile, The Co-operative saw sales increase by 3.9%, helped by the fact that many of its smaller stores could open on Easter Sunday. Sainsbury’s had a sales increase of 1.2%, and discounter Lidl retained its place as the fastest-growing supermarket, increasing sales by 17.7% to hold 4.4% of the market. Rival Aldi grew its sales by 14.4% to reach a new market share of 6%.
Elsewhere,research conducted by shopping and comparison website mySupermarket.co.uk found that the cost of groceries has dropped for the fourth month in a row. The cost of a basket consisting of 35 popular products has dropped to £84.36, the lowest recorded price since mySupermarket Groceries Tracker began on December 2014.