Grocery spend stalled in November despite price-cuts, money-off vouchers, fuel discounts and other promotions by the big four grocers.
The proportion of goods on promotion is is back up to 37% from 35% by value, but there has been no associated uplift in sales, according to market monitor Nielsen.
Supermarket groups’ overall growth slowed to 2.2% by value, down from 2.7%, in the four weeks to 26 November because of slowing shop price inflation and consumer caution.
Asda has “the best momentum” at the moment and is looks well positioned for good continued sales growth in December following the integration of Netto, Nielsen said.
Morrisons is also well positioned for another good Christmas, having recently outspent its rivals on TV and press advertising.
Nielsen senior manager for retailer services Mike Watkins said: “Shoppers are generally not only delaying spend until December, they are also buying less.
“Discount retailers are set for their best ever Christmas, with stronger signs of underlying growth than those experienced at the start of the 2008/09 recession.”
The key Christmas four-week trading period to 24 December is projected to be worth around £11.8bn, up slightly on last year’s £11.3bn.
He added: “However, even if there is a strong December, we expect the grocery multiples may only achieve 3.2 percent growth for the full 12-week trading period.
“This is a third less growth than last year and is reliant on both the last two weeks being exceptional. It would certainly help if the recent colder weather continues, but snow - which dented enthusiasm this time last year - manages to hold off.”
Nielsen: 12 Week share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change
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