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Alcohol was the ‘standout winner’ for supermarket sales this summer thanks to World Cup fever

Alcohol sales were a “standout” success at UK supermarkets this summer, raking in almost £300 million in just one week, according to new figures.

Sales of beer, wine, and spirits in UK supermarkets skyrocketed over the past three months thanks to a heatwave and the England team’s string of successful performances in this year’s World Cup, according to Fraser McKevitt, retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel.

He added that consumers spent £287 million on alcohol purchases in the week that the England football team played both Colombia and Sweden alone.

It was the biggest drinks windfall retailers have had since Kantar’s records began, excluding Christmas and Easter.

“Over the past month,” he said, “football-frenzied customers visited supermarkets an extra 13 million times as they hurried to stock up on World Cup-viewing essentials, with alcohol in particular the stand-out winner.”

Asda saw sales jump 3.7% to post its strongest growth in more than five years, and it was the best performing of the big four for the first time since December 2014.

The Big Four retailer was “buoyed by a sales increase of 9% to its core, standard own-label lines – which make up 40% of its sales,” McKevitt added.

Own-label products have been a success story for many retailers, particularly when it comes to alcohol. Private label (PL) share has grown for a fourth consecutive year in the UK, according to a report published by IRI.

Olly Abotorabi, senior regional insights manager at IRI, said that own-label ranges have “come along way” in turning their image around since the 1980s.

“Retailers have invested heavily, particularly at the premium end of the market providing improved quality and differentiation in a bid to drive customer loyalty. It’s evident in retailer messaging through to sales growth across a variety of categories.

“Products are increasingly aligned to evolved shopper habits and virtues whether that’s health, indulgence, portability, sustainability or environmental issues.”

Although Tesco’s convenience Express stores proved popular with shoppers, contributing to Tesco’s overall growth of 2.3%, the grocer’s market share fell back by 0.3 percentage points to 27.6%. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s market share declined by 0.4 percentage points to 15.6%, despite experiencing sales growth of 0.8%.

Although increasing sales by 2.8%, Waitrose dropped market share by 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%. E-commerce specialist Ocado experienced sales growth of 8.5% and now accounts for 1.2% of the grocery market.

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