British grocery sales hit record 11.7 bln stg in December -Kantar

    LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - December was the busiest month
ever for British supermarkets as tightening COVID-19
restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars and cafés
meant shoppers spent 11.7 billion pounds ($15.9 billion) on
groceries, industry data showed on Tuesday.
    Market researcher Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose
11.4% year-on-year over the 12 weeks to Dec. 27 - a period
spanning both the November national lockdown in England and
    "December is always an incredibly busy time for
supermarkets, but take-home grocery shopping is usually
supplemented by celebrations in restaurants, pubs and bars –
with 4 billion (pounds) spent on food and drink, excluding
alcohol, out of the home during the normal festive month," said
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
    "This year, almost all those meals were eaten at home and
retailers stepped up monumentally to meet the surge in demand,"
he said.
    Kantar said digital orders accounted for 12.6% of grocery
spend during December, compared with 7.4% in December 2019.
    Morrisons was the best performer of Britain's big
four grocers with sales up 13.1% year-on-year over the 12 weeks.
Its market share moved up by 0.1 percentage points to 10.4%, its
highest level since June 2019.
    Market leader Tesco saw sales growth of 11.1%,
followed by No. 2 Sainsbury's with growth of 10.7%.
    Walmart-owned Asda, the No. 3, was again the laggard
with growth of 7.8%.
    Kantar said grocery inflation was 1.3% for the 12-week
period, with prices rising fastest in markets such as canned
colas, fresh pork and chilled deserts while falling in
vegetables, fresh beef and bread.
 Market share and sales growth (%)
                  12 wks to     12 wks to     pct change
                  Dec. 27 2020  Dec. 29 2019  in sales
 Tesco            27.3          27.4          11.1
 Sainsbury's      15.9          16.0          10.7
 Asda             14.3          14.8          7.8
 Morrisons        10.4          10.3          13.1
 Aldi             7.4           7.8           6.3
 Co-operative     6.0           6.1           9.8
 Lidl             6.1           5.9           15.2
 Waitrose         5.0           5.0           11.7
 Iceland          2.5           2.3           20.8
 Ocado            1.6           1.3           36.5
 Source: Kantar

($1 = 0.7380 pounds)

 (Reporting by James Davey
Editing by Gareth Jones)