Growth among supermarkets slowed last month as consumers put off their Christmas shop as they await a raft of festive promotions.
Headline value growth at the UK’s grocery multiples slowed to 2.7%, down from 4% in the four weeks to October 29, according research house Nielsen.
Unit growth slowed to -1.9% from -0.9%.
Tesco sales by value were up 4.1% in the 12 weeks to October 29. Sainsbury’s and Asda both recorded 4.7% growth in the quarter.
Morrisons grew 4.9% on the same basis and Waitrose 7.9% but The Co-operative saw sales value contract -1.4%, according to Nielsen.
Asda increased its market share to 16.5% in the quarter to 29 October, up from 16.4% on a year earlier. Sainsbury’s and Morrisons made similar gains, the former moved from 15.6% to 15.7% while the latter went from 11.1% to 11.2%. Tesco’s market share was static at 29.4%, according to Nielsen.
Nielsen senior manager for retailer services Mike Watkins said: “The warm weather tempted many of us out to buy a little more freely back in September, injecting some short-term momentum into the market. So, it’s not surprising that in October we appear to have seen a redressing of the balance, with shoppers holding back.
“Looking ahead, we can now expect the major supermarkets to ramp up their efforts to attract shoppers over the crucial Christmas period. We believe this will happen in three key ways: big seasonal promotions of Christmas items, such as alcohol and confectionery; price cuts on frequently-purchased groceries; and further cash savings at the checkout through the distribution of money-off vouchers.”
Nielsen said that 62% of shoppers favour price cuts over multibuys as the “price cuts allow shoppers to buy just what they need, helping them to budget, even though the savings may not be so great”.