The government’s Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme saw £155m knocked off supermarket sales last month as consumers ate fewer meals at home.
Brits spent less at supermarkets in the four weeks to 6 September compared to July as the discount scheme encouraged people to venture out to restaurants and cafes.
Alcohol supermarket sales also declined, with wine sales falling five per cent and beer down 10 per cent, according to the latest research by Kantar.
Meanwhile year on year sales growth decelerated to eight per cent, the slowest rate since April.
Kantar head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt: “Grocery growth tailed off in August as the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme got underway and people were encouraged to return to offices and resume normal routines.
“Diners’ confidence built throughout the month and footfall increased during each week of the scheme, culminating in the final bank holiday Monday when dining out accounted for a two and a half times greater share of consumer spend than the pre-Covid average.”
Ocado, which launched its partnership with Marks & Spencer’s on 1 September, was the fastest growing retailer over the past 12 weeks, with sales up by 41.2 per cent year on year.
Ocado’s former partner, Waitrose, increased overall sales by 7.3 per cent compared with last year, and Waitrose.com experienced the fastest year-on-year online growth of any retailer.
McKevitt added: “As we move out of summer and closer to the end of the Government’s furlough scheme, retailers are thinking about how they can help households manage their bills.
“Promotional activity is now back to the highest level since February 2020 and is focused mainly on straightforward price cuts, with shoppers spending £247m more on these deals compared with a year ago. Meanwhile, multibuy deals are down £116m over the same period.”