Sales of FMCG products at out-of-town stores fell behind the market rate for the first time last year amid concerns over fuel prices, new figures from Nielsen reveal.

About one in five (21%) of shoppers are worried about rising fuel prices, compared with only 7% in 2009, David Glennon, retail services manager at Nielsen, told delegates at the FWD conference last week. "Fuel is having a massive impact on shoppers' decisions," Glennon said.

At the same time out-of-town sales were up 2.6%, compared with the overall market growth of 3.1%.

He also revealed that a convenient location, such as on the way to work, is the most important factor in determining where top-up shopping is done.

But with a record number of shoppers (30%) having no spare cash, coupled with food inflation at 5.7%, the proportion of retailers offering promotions is higher now than during the recession, Glennon said. Retailers are also focusing more on events such as Easter to maintain their customer base