Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

BWS Christmas sales down for UK multiples

Published:  11 January, 2024

Despite record spend on groceries during Christmas in UK supermarkets, sales of beer, wine and spirits were all in decline over the same period.

According to the latest data from NIQ, sales across UK supermarkets were down -5.8% for Champagne, -4.3% for Port, -2.7% for sparkling wine and -2% for spirits in the four weeks to 30 December.

The overall picture for supermarkets was much more positive, including a record-breaking £4.8bn intake across all channels during the week ending 23 December 2023, a 4.3% increase on the year previous.

Mike Watkins, NIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “With a full week of shopping before Christmas day and then the benefit of another week to spend in the build-up to New Year's Eve, it was an omnichannel Christmas. 

“Shoppers mixed and matched across the month to take advantage of the convenience of an early online delivery or click and collect and then store visits for last-minute shopping for fresh and festive food for family, friends and the new year celebrations. 

“However, with shoppers spending around 18% more on their groceries than two years ago, many were mindful of overspending, economised early in the quarter and overall bought less volume in eight out of the 12 weeks.”

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's, which recorded an 8.6% sales increase in its food channel in the six weeks to 7 January 2024, achieved record sales for its sparkling wine. 

“This was our first Christmas powered by Nectar Prices, helping customers save an average of £16 on an £80 Christmas shop. We delivered our best-ever value Christmas roast and customers bought record numbers of pigs in blankets, mince pies and sparkling wine,” said Simon Roberts, chief executive, Sainsbury’s.

“Taste the Difference sales grew ahead of the market as families treated themselves,” he added.

In addition, M&S grew its food sales by nearly 10% in the 12 weeks to 24 December, and Tesco grocery sales were up 6.4% in the six weeks to 6 January 2024.

However, news of widespread profits for supermarkets during a cost-of-living crisis has been met with some criticism. A spokesperson for Unite the Union said: “The government could easily choose to prevent companies exploiting a national crisis to bank grossly excessive profits. Instead, they simply let the gravy train continue.”

The NIQ data also found that promotions in supermarkets increased to 26.5% for FMCG sales, its highest rate for four years, due to competition for price cuts and loyalty scheme discounts on festive items.