April 28, 2020 / 8:04 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Life in lockdown Britain means fewer shopping trips but bigger bills

    * UK grocery sales up 5.5% in four weeks to April 19
    * Record low number of household shopping trips
    * Amount spent on each trip at record high

 (Adds detail, analyst comment, table)
    By James Davey
    LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - Britons made fewer shopping
trips but spent more when they did venture out for groceries and
bought different products as they adapted to life under the
country's coronavirus lockdown, industry data showed on Tuesday.
    Grocery sales in Britain rose by 5.5% year-on-year in the
four weeks to April 19, market researcher Kantar said, with only
stores deemed essential, such as food shops and pharmacies,
allowed to stay open under a lockdown imposed on March 23.
    But while growth in April was significantly lower than a
record of 20.6% in March, when Britons were building-up stocks
for the lockdown, sales were still 524 million pounds ($652
million) higher than they were a year before.
    Kantar said that on average households in Britain shopped
only 14 times for groceries over the four weeks, a record low
and down from 17 in more normal times.
    But the drop in trips as people adapt to social distancing
measures in stores was matched by a corresponding uplift in the
amount spent on each visit to 26.02 pounds, the highest figure
ever recorded by Kantar and 7 pounds greater than last year.
    "The step down (in growth) from March indicates that the
stockpiling phase is largely over, and we are beginning to enter
the channel shift phase, as calories move from out-of-home to
at-home," said analysts at Bernstein.
    The Kantar data also highlighted other changes to consumer
behaviour with more than 40% of consumers saying they are doing
more home baking and sales of suet up by 115% and sugar by 46%
over the four week period.
    Alcohol sales also rose, as Britons replaced pub trips with
virtual socialising.
    While Friday and Saturday remain the most popular days to go
shopping, disruption to the normal working week means the
proportion of trips made Monday to Thursday has increased,
making it harder to find quieter times.
    "Social distancing also means that expenditure on other
categories like clothes, food bought on the go and general
merchandise will have been considerably lower, so for some
retailers, the overall picture will be more modest," said Fraser
McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
    Online sales accounted for 10.2% of the total grocery
market, Kantar said, having been about 7% prior to the crisis,
with the greatest increase among older shoppers.
    Although not previously big users of e-commerce, people over
65 spent 94% more on deliveries than they did a year ago.
    Kantar said total grocery sales rose 9.1% year-on-year in
the 12 week period to April 19, with sales at market leader
Tesco up 7.2%, and Sainsbury's, Asda
and Morrisons rising 8.4%, 3.5% and 4.3% respectively.
    Discounters Aldi and Lidl were up 8.8% and 14.8%
    Grocery inflation was 1.9% over the 12 week period. Prices
are rising fastest in markets such as sausages, bacon and lamb
while falling in poultry, eggs and chocolate confectionery.
    Market share and sales rise (%)
                  12 wks to     12 wks to     pct change
                  April 19,     April 21,     in sales
                  2020          2019          
 Tesco            26.8          27.3          7.2
 Sainsbury's      15.3          15.4          8.4
 Asda             14.4          15.2          3.5
 Morrisons        9.9           10.3          4.3
 Aldi             7.9           7.9           8.8
 Co-operative     6.7           6.1           20.0
 Lidl             6.0           5.7           14.8
 Waitrose         5.0           5.0           9.4
 Iceland          2.2           2.1           16.6
 Ocado            1.5           1.4           19.4
 Source: Kantar      
($1 = 0.8042 pounds)

 (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young, Kate Holton
and Alexander Smith)
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