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UK Grocery Sales Grow At Record Pace In March: Kantar

UK grocery sales grew at a record rate in March as Britons prepared for a long stay at home as the country tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic.

Supermarket sales grew 7.6 percent year-on-year in the past 12 weeks, which was the fastest growth in over a decade, latest grocery market share figures from Kantar showed Tuesday.

Over the most recent four weeks, the sales growth was nearly three times higher at 20.6 percent, making March the biggest month of grocery sales ever recorded, the firm said.

The recent survey found that Britons rushed to shops in unusually high numbers on March 16 and 88 percent of households visited a grocer, making an average five trips, between March 16 and 19. That added up to 42 million extra shopping trips across the four days. Online grocery sales climbed 13 percent year-on-year.

"It has been an extraordinary month and social distancing measures have had a profound impact on all our daily lives - from the way we work and socialise, to how we shop and care for our loved ones," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar said.

"Retailers and their staff have been on the frontline as households prepare for an extended stay at home, with grocery sales amounting to £10.8 billion during the past four weeks alone - that's even higher than levels seen at Christmas, the busiest time of year under normal circumstances."

Among the main retailers, Lidl reported sales growth of 17.6 percent in the 12 weeks that boosted its market share to 6.1 percent. Aldi's market share hit a record high 8.2 percent with 11 percent sales growth.

Sainsbury's sales growth was the fastest, at 7.4 percent, among the big four. Growth at Tesco, Asda and Morrisons were 5.5 percent, 4.9 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

Iceland logged 11.7 percent sales growth and its market share grew to 2.2 percent. Convenience store chare Co-op reported growth of 9.4 percent and Waitrose witnessed 7.5 percent increase, the fastest since November 2013.

Online store Ocado boosted sales by 12.5 percent and added 133,000 new customers.

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