Christmas retail roundup: Christmas booze sales push Lidl into double digits

Booze sales helped to push Lidl’s sales into double digit growth, the retailer has reported, with beer, wine and spirits up 13%, its highest growth recorded in the category.

According to the discounter, its sub-£5 Rioja Joven DOC and Argentinian Malbec saw particularly strong sales, and collectively sold the equivalent of 16,000 glasses an hour over the Christmas period.

This mirrors sales at Aldi, which saw BWS rise 9.2% compared to last Christmas, with sales of sparkling wine up 14%. The discounter predicted a record-busting year, estimating that it would sell around 3 million bottles of sparkling wine, including its low-priced £3.99 Costollore Prosecco Frizzante DOC. Overall, Aldi saw sales growth of 7.9% in the four weeks to Christmas Eve, which it said made 2019 its “best-ever Christmas”.

Waitrose also saw a New Year spike in sparkling wines sales in the week to 4 January, a trading update noted, with sales of Champagne and sparkling wines up 25% and 24% respectively compared tot he same week last year, with English wines performing particularly strongly, up 175% on the same time in the previous year. Still wines were also up 13% compared to the same week the previous year. However its overall Christmas sales were more muted, with Waitrose & Partners’ reporting sales down -1.3% in the seven weeks to 4th January, on the back of store closures, although like-for-like sales rose 0.4%.

Meanwhile Majestic reported strong Q3 UK sales with like for likes up 4.3% on the back of its festive season sales with rum and brandy showing strong sales of +24% and +33% respectively, while French fizz saw “a renaissance, with Champagne up 11% and Cremant up 32%, while English wines saw growth of 9%.

Tesco revealed a 0.1% increase in like-for-like UK sales over the Christmas and New Year period, although like for like sales fell 0.2% in the 19 weeks to 4 January 2020, while Sainsbury’s reported only a slight increase in grocery sales for the festive quarter, lifted by strong growth online and volume growth from price investments on key lines.

Marks & Spencer reported a “standout performance” in the 2-week Christmas period as customers “responded to sharper value and more relevant innovation”. This helped boost trading in the third quarter of the year, with UK food and drink sales rising 1.5%, compared to a 3.7% fall in its clothing and home lines over the period.

Morrison also reported an exceptionally challenging period, which saw it’s group like-for-like sales excluding fuel down 1.7%., with lower sales from McColls denting growth of its wholesale channel.

Convenience retailer Spar UK today reported like-for-like Christmas retail sales up 2.6% in the four weeks to 29 December 2019.

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