Food sales grew by more than 5% during 2020 despite the year being the worst on record for retail sales, according to new data from IGD.
For 2020 overall, total retail sales declined 0.3% compared with 2019, however food sales were up by 5.4%.
Over the three months to December, food sales increased 6.8% on a like-for-like basis and 7.3% in total. This is higher than the 12-month total average growth of 5.4%. For the month of December, food was in growth year-on-year.
“December 2020 saw the highest ever festive spending in the UK food and grocery retail sector and was largely in line with the elevated trend through the year.”
Supermarkets also witnessed their busiest ever month in December, with shoppers spending £11.7 billion on take-home groceries over the final four-week period of the year alone.
Analysis from Kantar attributed the strong performance from retailers to the closure of foodservice and hospitality over the Christmas period, coupled with a degree of household stockpiling ahead of EU Exit.
Susan Barratt, CEO of IG, said: “December 2020 saw the highest ever festive spending in the UK food and grocery retail sector and was largely in line with the elevated trend through the year. Tightening restrictions across much of the country limited other sales channels and enabled supermarkets to get the full benefit of people celebrating with food and drink.”
Barratt continued: “Though last-minute changes put the brakes on larger family gatherings, shoppers nevertheless sought to make up for their disappointments by trading up to treat themselves and their immediate households with premium and luxury lines.”