By Jaime Llinares Taboada

 

U.K. grocery spending fell by just 0.2% on year in December to 11.7 billion pounds ($15.83 billion) from record sales seen a year earlier, and sales remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

Consulting company Kantar said Wednesday that grocery spending accelerated in December from the previous months as many people celebrated Christmas at home due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. From March to November, sales had dropped 2.5% from the same period of 2020.

For the 12 weeks ended Dec. 26, grocery sales fell 3.0% to GBP31.7 billion, but remained 8.0% above 2019 levels.

"Food and drink spend peaked two days before Christmas. The real driver of bumper sales on 23 December wasn't online though, as we saw the largest number of in-store visits since March 2020 this month," Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said.

Online grocery sales fell 3.7% on year in December.

In addition, grocery inflation for the 12 weeks ended Dec. 26 was 2.7%, with the prices of fresh beef, savory snacks and skincare rising at the fastest pace, Kantar said.

 

Write to Jaime Llinares Taboada at jaime.llinares@wsj.com; @JaimeLlinaresT

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2022 04:50 ET (09:50 GMT)

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