Consumer spending at supermarkets grew at its slowest pace in eight years – a historical low – as the price wars continue to take a toll, new figures reveal.
The money making its way through supermarkets' tills grew by just 0.8 per cent across Europe in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015, the slowest growth since 2008 when Nielsen first started recording the data.
Spending on food, drink and toiletries by consumers increased by just 0.7 per cent year-on-year, while volumes remained essentially flat at 0.1 per cent growth, falling to their lowest in the last two years.
The UK dragged the market down as supermarket takings dipped 1.6 per cent, its worst decline in two years and which analysts called "noticeable", blaming "fierce price competition among retailers". The UK experienced the third biggest decline of the 21 countries in Europe Nielsen measures.
Low growth in France and Germany also contributed to the weak figures, while Easter falling in a different quarter compared to last year had a negative effect, said Nielsen's European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede.
Discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to steal a march on the big four in the UK – Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons – pushing down prices.
Earlier figures from Kantar Worldpanel indicated supermarket prices declined 1.4 per cent over the summer. Sales at all four declined while Aldi and Lidl experienced double digit percentage growth.