Trading slows as shoppers hold out for Christmas bargains

Supermarket trading slowed in October, suggesting that shoppers are holding off Christmas shopping in the hope of getting better deals closer to the festive season, according to Nielsen.

Headline value growth in grocery multiples slowed to +2.7% in company’s latest retailer performance figures, for the four weeks to October 29, from 4% the month before.

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.”

Tesco topped the league of major grocers in the figures, with 29.4% share of the market in the 12 weeks to October 30, followed by Asda with 16.4% and Sainsbury’s with 15.6%.

A Nielsen Homescan survey in October also found that 62% of shoppers prefer price cuts to multibuys, because they allow them to buy just what they need and help them to budget.

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