The unusually warm spring weather during the last four weeks has helped grocery sales grow 5%, according to Nielsen data released today (May 30), as shoppers stock up on refreshments and fresh foods.

Convenience stores also benefited from the strong trading condiditons, with sales up 4.3%. Nielsen said retailers were well-placed to help shoppers prepare for impromptu barbecues with friends and family.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins pointed out that whilst store location is important for retailers to capture the incremental sales that warm weather brings, it is not the only way that shoppers decide where to shop. 

“Low prices are expected now, so it’s product range, customer service and convenience that’s becoming more important to shoppers,” he said.

Elsewhere, supermarkets saw the best non-seasonal growth in a four week period since July 2013, when a summer heatwave pushed four-weekly industry growth to 6.7%

Watkins added: “This growth is well ahead of inflation, indicating that despite any underlying concerns shoppers may have around balancing the monthly household budget, they are willing to spend on food and drink.  

“This is likely to be driven by a combination of the early May bank holiday, a royal wedding and unseasonably hot weather over the period, which encouraged shoppers to visit more often to indulge and celebrate.”

The recent heatwave saw shoppers spend more on alcoholic drinks (+12%), soft drinks (+13%), ice cream (+41%) and crisps and snacks (+7.5%).

Retailers also maintained their promotional offers after a weaker than expected Easter. Promotions accounted for 27% of sales as supermarkets targeted those shoppers who were keen to take advantage of the weather.