Supermarket sales fall flat as golden quarter fails to fizz

Christmas supermarket

Supermarket sales growth for the 2019 golden quarter was the slowest since 2015 as a decline in the sale of traditional festive staples and a political hangover hit food retailers.

Sales across the wider grocery market grew just 0.2% in the 12 weeks to December 29, as a Conservative majority in the general election failed to result in consumers expanding their festive budgets.

Despite the fact that food retailers took a record £29.3bn through the tills during the golden quarter, up £50m from the previous year, the growth rate was still the most sluggish it has been for four years.

Some of the hardest-hit categories were “traditional and indulgent festive classics” with sparkling wine sales down 8%, Christmas puddings down 16% and even sales of turkey fell 1%, as consumers shifted from “whole birds to smaller and cheaper joints such as crowns”.

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