Britain’s COVID vaccine rollout brings supermarkets back



LONDON (Reuters) – UK shoppers are heading to the supermarket more often as the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program gains momentum, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Market analyst Kantar said shoppers made 58 million more visits to the supermarket in the 12 weeks to May 16 compared to the same time last year when Britain was in the grip at the first wave of the virus.

“As the vaccine rollout progresses at full speed, consumers are increasingly confident in returning to stores,” said

Fraser McKevitt, Head of Retail and Consumer Affairs at Kantar.

As of Monday, more than 38 million Britons had received a first dose of the vaccine.

Kantar said there were also signs that the weekly department store, which made a comeback last year when the British tried to cut down on time spent outside their homes, could be on the verge of to disappear.

He said the average basket size fell for the third consecutive month to 22.82 pounds ($ 32.31), the lowest since March of last year.

The proportion of supermarket sales made online, another hallmark of last year’s buying habits, remained well above 2019 levels, but fell from 13.9% in April to 13.4% in the month. latest.

Kantar said overall grocery sales fell 0.4% year-over-year over the 12-week period, reflecting a difficult comparison with unusually high sales in the top three. pandemic month in 2020. Compared to the same period in 2019, sales increased by 13.9%.

“Many of us this time last year ate all of our meals at home so we bought extra food and drink. Now, we are seeing a decline in take-out grocery sales compared to 2020 as people can eat in restaurants, pubs and cafes and can buy food on the go again, ”McKevitt said.

Of the four major UK supermarket groups, Asda was the best performer with sales up 1.9% year-on-year. Sales of market leader Tesco were flat, while those of Sainsbury’s rose 0.7% and Morrisons’s rose 0.3%.

Kantar said prices for groceries fell 1.2% in the 12-week period, the fastest drop since August 2016.

Prices are rising fastest in segments such as chocolate confectionery, savory snacks and canned colas, while falling in bacon, toilet paper and vegetables.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Toby Chopra)



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