UK grocery sales hit worst level for two years

The European grocery market grew at the lowest level on record during the second quarter of 2016 with the UK having its worst performance for nearly two years, according to new trade figures published today by market analysts, Nielson.

“Prices paid for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) in Q2, 2016, rose just 0.7% year-on-year, whilst volumes rose 0.1%, the lowest level for over two years,” said Nielson. “Consequently, grocery retailers saw a 0.8% increase in takings at the till, the lowest ever figure since measurement began in the final quarter of 2008.

Across the 21 European countries measured, Turkey had the highest growth in takings at the tills (+8.9%), followed by Norway (+3.5%) and Sweden (+3.2%). At the other end of the scale, the biggest declines were in Greece (-7.2%) and Finland (-4.6%).

Of the big five western European markets, Spain (+2.1%) had the highest growth, followed by Italy (+1.2%).

The UK, meanwhile, had its worst performance for nearly two years (-1.6%), having the lowest growth among this group and the third lowest among all 21 countries.

“The historically low performance across Europe is driven by two factors,” said Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede.

“The negative effect of Easter not occurring in Q2 this year but doing so last year, followed, more significantly, by very low growth in France and Germany and the noticeable decline in the UK, which is being driven by fierce price competition among the retailers.”

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