Chains boosted by festive spending on crisps and drink

SALES of groceries at the major supermarket chains jumped in the final weeks of November, in a boost for the retail sector.

J Sainsbury was the strongest performer with 6.8 per cent growth. There was 4.8 per cent growth on average across the board, according to the figures from retail analysts Nielsen.

Chains outside the top four of Tesco Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda also saw rises in the four weeks to 27 November.

Waitrose and M&S saw healthy improvements in like-for-like sales.

With Christmas coming, crisp sales jumped 9.7 per cent compared with the previous year, while fizzy drinks saw a nine per cent lift across the retailers.

Mike Watkins, senior manager retailer services at Nielsen said: “Shopper spend is being promotionally pushed rather than consumer led. The end of November is typically the annual promotional peak and this year is no exception with 39 per cent of value sales being sold on some kind of promotion.

“The greatest ever proportion of spend on offer was purchased in the alcohol and soft
drinks categories.”

However, early purchasing and bad weather has the potential to dampen early December numbers, Nielsen warned.

Watkins added: “There is an indication that sales in some categories may have been brought forward by one or two weeks at the end of November due to the increased level of promotions.”

He also said poor weather could boost sales for convenience stores.