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Grocery inflation hits fresh high

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Grocery price inflation continued to mount in April, research showed on Tuesday, to hit levels not seen in over a decade.
According to retail consultancy Kantar, like-for-like grocery inflation was 5.9% in April, the highest rate since December 2011.

The surging prices prompted shoppers to seek out cheaper retailers, with discounter Aldi the fastest growing grocer during the period, with sales up 4.2% in the 12 weeks to 17 April. Rival Lidl saw sales rise 4.0%.

Aldi’s and Lidl’s market shares are now 8.8% and 6.6% respectively, their highest yet, after more than one million extra shoppers visited respectively over the past 12 weeks.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The average household will be exposed to a potential price increase of £271 per year. A lot of this is going on non-discretionary, everyday essentials which will prove difficult to cut back on as budgets are squeezed.

“We’re seeing a clear flight to value as shoppers watch their pennies. The level of products bought on promotion, currently at 27.3%, has decreased 2.7 percentage points as everyday low price strategies come to the fore.”

Tesco was the only other grocer to gain market share during the period, up 0.3 percentage points at 27.3% of total grocery sales. Its sales still fell, however, down 4.8%. J Sainsbury reported a 7.7% fall in sales, while Asda and Wm Morrison were off 10.3% and 10.5% respectively.

Sales at Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, were down 9.2%, while Ocado saw a 10.7% decline.

Overall all, supermarket sales were down 5.9% over the 12 weeks to 17 April compared to the same period a year previously, when most of the UK was in lockdown.

In the 12 weeks to 17 April, grocery inflation was 4.8%. Prices rose fastest in dog food, fresh lamb and savoury sacks, and fell in spirits. Kantar calculates grocery inflation data using a year-on-year comparisons of a 75,000 identical products.

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