Pre-Christmas confectionery sales revealed
Supermarket FMCG sales reached £3.1 billion during a busy Christmas week (ending 26 December), an increase of 7.4% in value compared with 2014, according to the latest retail data from research organisation IRI. Food sales totalled £2.3 billion (+8.8%) while non-food sales reached £789 million (+3.8%).
Figures from IRI’s Retail Advantage, which measures sales from major UK grocery multiples, had already revealed that sales had been slow over the first two weeks in December (ending 12th), with shoppers spending -1.6% less in supermarkets than they did in 2014. But a bounce-back in the two week period ending 26 December saw overall FMCG sales surpass the previous year’s by 1.1%, with food up 1.6%. Non-food was still down -0.1% overall, in line with the long-term trend.
Within the food sector it was the Christmas Cakes, Pies, Puddings and Confectionery categories that saw the biggest surge in sales, after a slow start in the two weeks ending 12 December. Across the fortnight ending 26 December, sales of Christmas cakes and puddings were up 6.3% and Christmas confectionery up 8.8%. Christmas confectionery sales alone were up a massive 19% in Christmas week itself, reaching £119.8m.
“There was an extra peak shopping day in Christmas week 2015 compared with last year, which helped push up the final week’s sales figures, but the level of growth does provide some good news for supermarkets,” comments IRI's Martin Wood. “It shows people are feeling better off at last as wages rise and fuel prices come down, and also that shoppers have not completely abandoned mainstream retailers for the discounters. Competition with discounters has driven down prices, however, keeping value and revenues down even when volumes are up.
“The increase in sales of Christmas cakes, puddings and confectionery could be due to the ‘Bake-off effect’ giving people a taste for sweet things once again. They want to feature high quality cakes and desserts as centrepieces of their Christmas meal or party spread, but don’t have time to create these themselves. Premium Christmas confectionery also sold particularly well.”