Record levels of promotions are expected to drive grocers’ Mothers’ Day and Easter performance but shoppers will then once again rein in spending, according to market data company Nielsen.

Volume growth across the food sector almost halved to 2% in the last four weeks compared to February, Nielsen reported, despite the high number of special offers.

Nielsen senior manager, retailer services, Mike Watkins, said: “Shoppers are responding well to powerful promotions and we are seeing 40% of all sales now on promotion – an all-time high.

“We envisage that shoppers will continue to indulge in Mothers’ Day and Easter promotions but will cut back in the following weeks in order to balance their household budgets.”

Nielsen reported similar rates of year-on-year growth among the big four supermarkets in the 12 weeks to March 19, when hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl outpaced the food pack as did John Lewis Partnership-owned Waitrose.

Watkins said that pressure on consumers’ disposable income “is now starting to impact supermarkets which have so far proved resilient to such economic factors.”

12 Weekly % Share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change



12w/e 20/03/10 


12 w/e 19/03/11 


Value Sales % Change 

12 weeks

Co-op & S’field7.87.1-7.9