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UK Supermarket Sales Growth Slows, Shoppers Delay Festive Spending: Kantar

UK supermarket sales growth slowed further in the 12 weeks to December 1, as consumers delay their Christmas shopping, survey data from the market research group Kantar showed on Tuesday.

Supermarket sales rose only 0.5 percent year-on-year, Kantar said citing data from its Worldpanel FMCG data for the 12 weeks to December 1.

The firm monitors the take home grocery purchasing habits of 30,000 representative households across Britain.

"Amid the uncertainty of a General Election, a lackluster Black Friday and a wet autumn, shoppers have been delaying their Christmas preparations and are waiting to stock up on festive supplies," Kantar said.

The survey also found that, on average, consumers made one fewer visit to the shops over the past three months than this time last year.

Further, the share of shoppers claiming to take advantage of Black Friday this year fell to 53 percent from 57 percent last year.

Reasons for the erosion included signs of 'promotion fatigue' among consumers, an increased skepticism regarding the value of the deals on offer, and some retailers pulling back from the day all together.

Only 5 percent of Black Friday deal hunters bought something from a grocer this year.

Grocery inflation was 0.8 percent for the 12-week period ended December 1.

Suggesting the delay in holiday shopping, sales of Christmas puddings and seasonal biscuits decreased 16 percent and 12 percent annually in the past four weeks.

However, sales of advent calendars grew 1 percent in the past four weeks and those of fresh and frozen party food rose 7 percent.

Among the main retailers, Lidl logged a 9.3 percent sales growth that propelled its market share to a record 6.1p percent. Aldi and Co-op also reported sales growth.

Meanwhile, the combined market share of the four largest grocers - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - decreased to 67.7 percent from 69.1 percent. Kantar expects them to increase their proportion of sales in the coming weeks.

Online retailer Ocado remained the fastest growing grocer and Iceland's growth accelerated. Waitrose continued to log sales decline, but the pace slowed further.

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