Easter eggs help improve UK economy

Supermarkets have seen the sharpest increase in sales since 2013 thanks to seasonal food such as Easter eggs and hot cross buns. Sales have risen at their fastest rate for 3 and a half years.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel also showed that prices were rising as they continued to pick up after more than two years in decline.

The figures show that the total grocery market grew by 3.7% to £26.4bn in the 12 weeks to 23 April, the fastest rate since September 2013.

All 10 major retailers have seen a growth and this is the first time this has happened in 3 and a half years.

Easter was a major contributor, with £325m spent on Easter eggs while 20 million packs of hot cross buns were sold in one week alone.

Three quarters of the population bought at least one egg with premium brands proving popular – taking the average price up by 8.6% to £1.65.

In the grocery sector, prices were climbing at an annual rate of 2.6% which is the strongest pace for three and a half years.

Kantar said this rate was still below the average level of grocery inflation experienced between 2010 and 2014. Sainsbury’s have had the strongest sales growth of 1.7% since June 2014. The figure came on the same day as Britain’s second biggest supermarket reported a fall in profits and warned of continuing challenges amid tough competition.

Competitor supermarket, Asda also posted it’s first increase for more than two years while Tesco and Morrisons also saw growth.

Separate industry figures posted by Nielsen also showed strong growth with sales being up 3.2% in the eight weeks leading up to 22nd April.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said it counterbalanced “rather downbeat” stories about wider consumer spending, squeezed by rising inflation and stuttering pay growth.

Separate data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that across the wider sector, including fashion and homeware as well as food, prices were still falling.

However, deflation of 0.5% in April compared to a larger price fall of 0.8% in March.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Prices are undoubtedly on an upward trajectory, which we expect to gradually play out over the course of the year.”

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