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Royal wedding and hot weather help supermarkets defy retail gloom

Supermarkets defied a downturn sweeping the retail industry as hot weather, the royal wedding and the FA Cup final encouraged shoppers to splurge on barbecue food, alcohol, and sunscreen.
The grocery market grew 2.7pc to ?27bn in the 12 weeks to May 20, according to Kantar Worldpanel, as all of the “Big Four” supermarkets clocked up rising sales.
Morrisons did particularly well, outstripping the market with growth of 2.9pc, as it pulled in more than 300,000 extra shoppers in the period.
Asda also managed to hang on to its market share with growth of 2.8pc but Tesco and Sainsbury’s lost ground to fast-growing German discounters Aldi and Lidl despite managing to grow sales by 2.2pc and 1pc respectively.
Splurge
The May heatwave inspired shoppers to fire up their barbecues, driving a 39pc surge in burger sales and 12pc growth in sausages and the grocers also sold 64pc more sun cream than in the previous year.
Kantar Worldpanel’s Chris Hayward said: “The Friday before the day of the wedding and the FA Cup Final experienced a particularly noticeable spike in sales, with grocers clocking in ?415m over the 24 hours.”
The figures were buoyed by a hike in prices, as inflation reached 2.1pc in the period.
The strong performance stands out from the wider retail sector, which has suffered a wave of insolvencies in recent months as shops have struggled with higher costs and lower footfall because more consumers are choosing to shop online.
Royal wedding and hot weather help supermarkets defy retail gloom

Sales of sausages surged 12pc
Maplin and Toys R US both fell into administration in February and several others including Carpetright, New Look, House of Fraser and Mothercare have turned to Company Voluntary Arrangements, pleading with landlords and other creditors for a stay of execution as they restructure their businesses.  
Separate data from Nielsen said the grocery market grew by 5pc over the last four weeks, with sales of ice cream up 41pc and alcohol up 12pc.
Nielsen’s Mike Watkins said: “We can expect many of the trends we have seen in the last few weeks to continue throughout the summer. The World Cup in June should be another chance to attract more visits and to boost shopper spend."
Marks & Spencer, which temporarily rebranded itself Markle and Sparkle in honour of the royal wedding and offered free packed lunches to members of the public invited to the ceremony, was among the worst performing food sellers with growth of just 0.8pc in the 12 weeks toMay 19 according to Nielsen. Rival upmarket grocer Waitrose fared little better, up 1pc.
Sainsbury's-Asda merger in numbers
Aldi and Lidl have continued to eat away at the industry giants’ market share but they are no long-enjoying the double-digit growth they had become accustomed to, slowing to 9.8pc and 9.9pc respectively.
HSBC analyst David McCarthy said second-largest Sainsbury’s “continues to be the weakest of the Big Four” as it falls further behind Tesco in terms of market-share.
The London-based chain announced plans to merge with third-placed Asda last month in a ?15bn mega-merger that would supplant Tesco as the market leader.
The pair claimed a tie-up would lead to lower prices for customers and would not lead to store closures but it is likely to face thorough scrutiny by competition authorities and is expected to take more than a year to complete.
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