Football fever spurs sales of alcohol, crisps and pizza

Football fever encouraged shoppers to spend £1.2bn on alcohol over the past month – a 24 per cent increase on the same month in 2019, according to the latest grocery figures from Kantar.

Morrisons sets itself apart from the competition through its distinctive fresh counters

Sales of crisps, snacks, and pizza also soared as many fans gathered around to watch the tournament at home.

Fraser McKevitt head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “It was a huge month for British football, with major tournaments usually providing a significant boost to supermarkets.

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"But with many fans choosing to make the most of newfound freedoms and watch the matches in pubs and bars, take-home sales of alcohol over the four weeks to mid-July were actually down by 3 per cent compared with the previous month.

"That said, shoppers still spent £1.2bn on the category – a 24 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.

"Crisps and snack brands also enjoyed a boost from those of us who gathered round to watch the games at home and sales grew by 23 per cent compared with two years ago.

"It’s the trademark food of Italy, England’s rival in the Euro 2020 final, but that didn’t stop people spending an extra £10m on chilled and frozen pizzas in the past month.”

Kantar said grocery sales fell 5.1 per cent over the 12 weeks to July 11, but shoppers still spent £3bn more on groceries compared with the same period in 2019.

Year-on-year online grocery sales declined for the first time ever as the nation returned to physical stores, workplaces, and restaurants over the past month.

Leeds-based Asda’s share slipped by 0.1 percentage points to 14.0 per cent and Bradford-based Morrisons fell from 10.3 per cent last year to 10.1 per cent.

Mr McKevitt said: “Morrisons has made plenty of headlines this month following private equity interest in the business; a change of ownership in the near future looks to be highly likely.

"Following a year of solid sales performance, shoppers are clearly pleased with what the Bradford-based grocer has offered.

"It sets itself apart from the competition through its distinctive fresh counters and a continued use of multibuy promotions. While other retailers have cut back on counters, 14 per cent of Morrison’s shopping trips include loose meat, fish, dairy, or delicatessen items from its Market Street sections, more than double the market average.

"Over 30 per cent of promotional sales in Morrisons are multibuy offers, requiring the customer to buy two or more items. This is in contrast to its big four rivals which have largely focused efforts on price cuts.”

As the legal obligation to wear face masks in shops in England came to an end on Monday, 55 per cent of shoppers said they felt safe on their latest trip to a retailer.

Mr McKevitt said: “The proportion of people who feel safe when visiting stores has not varied significantly over the past six months, despite the majority of the country now being at least partially vaccinated.

"Just over half of the population feel happy and secure in store, but that of course means a significant minority still experience some degree of anxiety while out and about.

“The number of people choosing to buy groceries online fell by 81,000 in July compared with the same four weeks last year.

"As the nation returned to shops, workplaces and restaurants over the past month, digital baskets shrunk by 8 per cent to an average of £80 per shop, the lowest since February 2020. As a result, year-on-year sales growth for online groceries has dropped for the first time ever – falling by 2.6 per cent. The channel currently accounts for 13.3 per cent of the total market.”