The Co-op Group outperformed all the major supermarket groups in the run-up to Christmas, with the exception of Aldi and Lidl, as overall grocery sales growth slumped to a five-year low over the last four weeks, according to Nielsen.


Latest Nielsen figures found that supermarket sales increased by 0.5% in the last four weeks, the lowest sales growth since 2014, with shoppers choosing to shop more frequently but spend less, Nielsen said.

In the 12 weeks to 28 December the Co-op enjoyed sales growth of 3.0%, ahead of the big four which all experienced a sales decline – led by Morrisons at -2.5%. Sainsbury’s was the most successful big four supermarket, but sales sill declined by -0.4%.

Aldi and Lidl enjoyed sales growth of 7.7% and 12.2% respectively over the 12-week period.

Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, said: “It is unsurprising that sales have remained relatively low over the December period, given that momentum continued to slow in the run up to Christmas this year. This has given us the lowest Christmas sales growth since 2014, with shoppers choosing to visit stores more frequently, but spending less.

“Despite the festive season, consumers are evidently remaining cautious by taking advantage of greater price competition and special offers. It’s possible that shoppers have also turned to healthier options as sales of no and low alcohol beer, cider and lager increasing by +24% in the last four weeks, whilst total category sales in beer, wine and spirits have declined slightly by -0.1%.

“However, consumers have opted to indulge through other means - which helps to explain the uplift in sales for confectionery and soft drinks over the festive period.”