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Kantar: Supermarket booze sales rise by a third

Supermarket sales of booze rose by a third in November in what was the UK’s largest ever month for grocery shopping, as people stocked up early for a Covid Christmas.

Man choosing wine

UK shoppers spent a whopping £10.9 billion in November, taking the average household grocery spend to £4,206. More than six million households shopped online this month – the greatest number ever, with online sales accounting for a record 13.7%.

According to Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt, limited opportunities to drink in pubs and restaurants coupled with pre-Christmas planning, pushed alcohol spend 33% higher than in the same four weeks last year.

“Two-fifths of that growth came from spirits, with sales of cream liqueurs – popular Christmas tipples – more than doubling compared with 2019,” he said.

Meanwhile overall grocery sales rose by the fastest rate since August, up 11.3% in the 12 weeks to 29 November, with growth accelerating in the final four weeks as new eating out restrictions came into effect.  The three days prior to the second lockdown, which came into effect on 5 November, also saw accelerated growth of 17%, Kantar noted.

McKevitt said that December’s numbers were likely to surpass that. “We expect spend to be close to £12 billion in the month ahead, around £1.5 billion more than last year,” he said.

However, with Brexit very firmly on the horizon, Kantar warned that even modest price inflation would mean consumers need to rebalance their budgets next year. Currently, there is grocery inflation of 1.4%.

The average British household has spent a record £4,206 on groceries so far in 2020, meaning that even moderate price increases could result in the need to balance household budgets next year.

Barclaycard spending

Meanwhile, according to Barclaycard’s latest consumer spending review for Novermber, a third of UK consumers are feeling more upbeat about finances and job security following the news of the Covid-19 vaccines. However confidence in the UK economy remained low at 23%, compard to 31% in November 2019.

Its data found that that credit cards spending on essentials grew 4.9%, with a 17.9% rise in supermarket shopping as a result of a shift online as Brits stayed at home during the second lockdown, and shifted their spending to essential stores and online. Online grocery shopping saw a steep 97.4%, it said.

However, Barclaycard reported steeper year-on-year declines inrestaurants, pubs & bars, down -56.7% and -56.3″ respectively compared to October – which was already down 32.7% and 13.5% respectively.

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