Waitrose was the biggest winner out of the top supermarkets in March due to the Easter sales boost and a 142% increase in advertising spend year-on-year.

Waitrose sales surged 13.9% in the 12 weeks to March 30 while sales at Tesco jumped 4%.

However, Easter fell outside of the comparable period last year, with Easter Sunday falling on April 8, 2012. Easter Sunday was on March 31 this year.

Sainsbury’s sales increased 8.2% last month while revenue at Asda and Morrisons grew 5% and 0.9% respectively.

Nielsen UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins said: “Although all the grocery multiples benefited, Waitrose was able to surf the rising Easter tide better and longer than its competition.”

Nielsen said grocers’ sales were driven by TV and press advertising spend as they ramped up marketing activity in the run up to the Easter holiday. Supermarkets increased TV and press advertising spend in March by 24% to £32.9m.

Waitrose upped its marketing spend by 142% to £2.5m in March, while Tesco spent the biggest amount on advertising - £6.6m, up 41% in the month.

Across the grocery market sales in the four weeks to March 30 were up 6.2% year-on-year.

Sales volumes jumped 2.5% year-on-year in March.

Watkins added: “Waitrose’s significant increase in TV and press spend helped attract 11% more shoppers and contributed to stellar sales growths of +19.5% in the last four weeks. Sainsbury’s sales momentum and growth in market share continues, with Asda +6.5% and Tesco +5.6% growing sales in line with the overall market over Easter.

“Sainsbury also just inched ahead of Asda again in market share in the last four weeks, although it remains to be seen if this can be maintained over the next quarter, when trading is so volatile.”


% share, 12 weeks to

30 March 2013

% share, 12 weeks to

31 March 2012

% sales change vs. same 12 weeks year ago
MARKS AND SPENCER3.60%3.60%5.70%