Jubilee beats the Olympics for sales

Off-trade sales of beer, cider, RTDs and sparkling wine saw an uplift in the week of the Olympic opening ceremony – but overall the games brought less joy to drinks retailers than the Diamond Jubilee, according to market data firm Nielsen.

Opening ceremony week saw the third highest volumes for beer, cider and RTDs this year but sales for the rest of the Olympics were “more modest”, Nielsen said.

The company said that total food and drink sales in supermarkets in the four weeks to August 18 were 3.5% higher than the same period a year ago, led by “sharing” product categories such as soft drinks (+10%), confectionery (+8%) and crisps and snacks (+7%).

“Retailers have clearly looked to maximise the sales opportunity around the Olympics,” said Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight.

“Although promotional activity has remained unchanged at 35% of FMCG sales, the continual use of money-off vouchers and coupons has marked a differing approach by retailers this summer.

“This has helped to increase shopping basket spends.”

Retail lacked the golden touch as “net effect of the games was minimal”.

But the British Retail Consortium said August has witnessed the “worst sales growth this year”, with a “mild boost” to sales of food and drink for par- ties but added that the “net effect of the games was minimal”.

Like-for-like sales in August were down 0.4% on the same month in 2011. “There’s no evidence here of any Olympic boost to retail sales overall,” said director general Stephen Robertson.

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