Christmas to provide most successful day for retailers ever

The day Christmas lands this year could provide the nation’s retailers with their most successful day of sales ever recorded. 

Falling on a Monday this year, the weekend leading up to Christmas could offer supermarkets with an opportunity to increase profit, according to Kantar Worldpanel. 

“Christmas Day falls on a Monday this year – last time that happened, in 2006, the Friday before was the most popular day for grocery shopping that year,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel. 

“If we see a similar pattern in 2017, Friday 22 December is likely to win out as the grocers enjoy not only the biggest shopping day of 2017, but the most successful ever recorded. Over Friday 22 and Saturday 23 December, we expect shoppers to part with an eye-watering £1.5 billion as they fill their trollies ahead of Christmas Day.” 

The run-up to the festive season has given retailers further growth. According to Kantar figures, supermarket sales have increased in value 3.1% year-on-year for the 12 weeks up to 3 December 2017.

McKevitt explained: “With Christmas just around the corner, prices are still rising. Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.6% - its highest level since 2013.”

Discounter Aldi took the title for the fastest-growing grocer during the latest quarter, as sales increased 15.1% year-on-year with successful sales in its chilled aisle and a rise in convenience products. Lidl was slightly behind, with a rise of 14.5% in sales.

The former also filed an increase in market share of 0.5%, taking its total to 5.1%.

Collectively, the ‘Big Four’ saw a growth of 1.9% for the 12 weeks, resulting in the ninth consecutive period for increased sales for the major retailers. Tesco was the fastest-growing, with sales up 2.5% compared to the same period last year. Although its market share dropped by 0.1% to 28.2%, it remains the most visited retailer in Britain.

Sainsbury’s saw sales grow 2% year-on-year, although market share fell to 16.3%. Morrisons’ market share also fell to 10.6% despite a rise in sales of 1.4% compared to last year.

Asda faced the same fate, with a sales growth of 1.2%, but a market share drop of 0.3%, while The Co-operative’s sales fell 1.5%, taking market share down 0.3 percentage points to 6%.

Waitrose and Iceland increased sales for the period, up 1.6% and 1.3% respectively.

Meanwhile, online grocery sales have slowed to 2.8% for the past 12 weeks, although Kantar predicted that it was still likely to be a record December for grocery e-commerce.

Ocado’s sales for the 12 weeks rose 5.2%, with its market share remaining flat year-on-year at 1.3%. 

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