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Eat Out To Help Out Scheme Hits Supermarket Sales

16th September 2020

Photograph of Eat Out To Help Out Scheme Hits Supermarket Sales

Grocery sales rose by 10.8% during the 12 weeks to 6 September 2020, but growth slowed as some aspects of pre-Covid life resumed, new research finds.

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show in the most recent four weeks year-on-year sales growth decelerated to 8.0%, the slowest rate since April 2020.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "Grocery growth tailed off in August as the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme got underway and people were encouraged to return to offices and resume normal routines. Diners' confidence built throughout the month and footfall increased* during each week of the scheme, culminating in the final bank holiday Monday when dining out accounted for two and a half times greater share of consumer spend than the pre-Covid average.

"Fewer meals eaten at home meant consumers spent £155m less in the supermarkets in the four weeks to 6 September compared with July. Alcohol sales dipped month on month, with wine down 5% and beer down 10%, as the scheme encouraged people to swap Zoom catch-ups for their favourite bars and restaurants. The chance to see colleagues, friends and family in person again seems to have reignited personal grooming routines - sales of hair styling products were 17% higher in August than July, hair removal treatments were up by 11% and deodorants by 3%."

Online grocery sales rose by 77% year-on-year in the past four weeks, bringing the cumulative increase in orders to £3.2bn since lockdown began.

In addition, the research shows promotional activity is back to the highest level since February. McKevitt said: "As we move out of summer and closer to the end of the government's furlough scheme, retailers are thinking about how they can help households manage their bills. Promotional activity is now back to the highest level since February 2020 and is focused mainly on straightforward price cuts, with shoppers spending £247m more on these deals compared with a year ago. Meanwhile, multibuy deals are down £116m over the same period.

“We expect loyalty schemes to become increasingly important in the months ahead. 26 million British shoppers hold at least one supermarket loyalty card, with the average person carrying three in their wallet. Lidl launched its ‘Lidl Plus’ loyalty app in the UK last month and Tesco, which runs the single biggest scheme with ‘Clubcard’, continues to launch new discounts through the programme."

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