Shopping momentum has fallen in the last four weeks, with grocery sales slowing to the lowest growth (1.7%) for UK supermarkets in September in two years, according to data released by Nielsen. 

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The slowdown was attributed to the current wet and windy weather, which has gripped large swathes of the UK since the end of September.

Before the autumnal weather took hold, sunny weather in the first weeks of September boosted soft drink sales by 2.7%, crisps and snacks by 2.3% and frozen foods by 2.1%. 

Sales at Tesco and Sainsbury’s remained broadly flat in the last 12 weeks whilst Asda and Morrisons experienced a slight decline.

Sales at the discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to grow but at a slower rate than earlier this year.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “With volume sales still in decline at -0.6% in major UK supermarkets, it’s clear that shoppers are continuing to hold back spend.

“Against a backdrop of simmering economic uncertainties and the looming deadline of Brexit, as well as the UK having its lowest food inflation rate since April 2018, retailers are finding it more of a challenge to drive topline sales.”

With the slowdown in recent weeks, UK supermarkets will need to increase advertising and promotion efforts to encourage consumers back into shops ahead of the ‘golden quarter’ of seasonal shopping around Christmas and New Year, Nielsen added.

“Though many retailers are starting to introduce price cuts to help regain momentum after the unpredictable summer, it is evident that retailers will need to invest more heavily in promotional and advertising activity if they want to have the best chance of success in the run up to the seasonal shopping period.

“This should help lift consumer buying momentum and kick start Christmas and seasonal shopping,” Watkins added.