Flat Christmas for UK off-trade

The UK off-trade saw its slowest sales growth over the Christmas period since 2015, the latest figures from Kantar show, with sales of sparkling wine taking a hit of around 8%.

According to head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt, consumers cut back on traditional and indulgent festive classics, and although still wine rose 2% and beer was up 1% on last year, sparkling wine sales fell flat, down 8%

Overall growth was muted at 0.2%, despite the grocery market taking £50million more than last year and all of the ‘big four’ grocers saw sales decline on the previous year.

Like-for-like prices rose only 0.9% on last year, but the average spend per household was down on last year, and total volumes also fell 0.7%.

Lidl was the fastest growing bricks and mortar supermarket, the data revealed, with sales growth up 10.3%, while Aldi, Co-op and Iceland achieving growth, up 5.9%, 3.0% and 2.3% respectively.

Together the discounters took 13.7% share of the market, the highest combined market share at Christmas, having trebled in the last ten years, and Aldi sales reach record £1billion at Christmas.

The picture was less rosy at Tesco (-1.5%), Sainsbury (0.7%), Asda (2.2%) and Morrisons (2.9%) with the sluggish market failing to help and customers making fewer shopping trips.

Waitrose also saw sales fall 0.9%, although its market share remained at 5%.

Meanwhile UK wine retailer Majestic yesterday reported its biggest ever day of trading on 23 December, which helped boost its third quarter sales to around 4.3% like-for-like, with Champagne up 11% and Crémant up 32%.

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