Groceries rise at fastest rate since 2003
● Inflation behind store sales increase ● Families could pay an extra £144 a year
Grocery prices rose at their fastest rate in four years over the past three months, with a supermarket sales increase almost entirely due to inflation, figures show.
The latest rise in food price inflation - now at 3.4 per cent - means a typical family could pay an extra £144 a year for their groceries if the pace continues, Kantar Worldpanel said. Sales across the market over the 12 weeks to 5 November were up 3.2 per cent on last year, but this was almost all down to the rising rate of inflation.
Fraser Mckevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Volume sales have increased by less than 1 per cent, meaning it’s price rises keeping supermarket performance buoyant.
“Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.4 per cent, its highest level since November 2013. With the average shop currently costing £18.26, consumers are now paying an extra 62 pence each time and over the course of a year it could add £143.70 to a typical family’s grocery bill.”
Most grocery products were more expensive, with prices rising fastest in categories such as butter, where a milk shortage has pushed up prices, fish and cola.
Prices fell for only a few product categories, including crisps and fresh poultry.
Prices have been rising since the start of this year following 30 consecutive periods of deflation from September 2014 to December 2016 as supermarkets engaged in a fierce price war.
Lidl was Britain’s fastestgrowing supermarket for the fifth consecutive period, with sales up 15.1 per cent helped by new store openings.
Some 10.6 million households visited Lidl at least once during the past three months, boosting the grocer’s market share by 0.5 percentage points to 5.1 per cent, while sales at Aldi, which attracted 11.9 million households during the same period, increased by 13.1 per cent to boost market share to 6.7 per cent.
Consumers bought 10.1 million packs of traditional Christmas biscuits in October as shopping for the festive season “well and truly started”, Kantar said.
Mr Mckevitt said: “Alcohol sales have ramped up too, increasing by 5.3 per cent year on year as shoppers parted with an extra £142 million on their favourite tipples.
“The British public is only just getting started when it comes to Christmas shopping, and is expected to shell out a whopping £28.7 billion at the grocers in the final 12 weeks of 2017.”
Figures from analysts Nielsen show Tesco had the fastest growing sales of the big four for the eighth consecutive month, up 2.7 per cent year-on-year for the 12 weeks to 4 November, noticeably ahead of 2.1 per cent for Sainsbury’s, 1.8 per cent for Morrisons, and 1.7 per cent for Asda.