Olympics feel-good factor boosts supermarkets

Supermarkets registered the strongest sales performance of 2012 in August thanks to the impact of the Olympics and better weather, according to the latest Nielsen figures.

Sales growth across the sector was 3.5 per cent higher than the same period a year ago, while sales volume increased 1.7 per cent year on year, driven by strong performance in “sharing” categories such as soft drinks, crisps, snacks and confectionery.

The increase reverses 18 months of declining volume sales, however Nielsen warns that underlying consumer confidence remains weak.

Waitrose continued to outperform the market reporting sales growth of 12 per cent in the four weeks to 18 August.

Separately, Waitrose has outlined plans to double the scale of its online business to 6 per cent of total sales by 2020, and eventually increasing it to 20 per cent.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph (2 September) Waitrose managing director Mark Price said that he would also look to double Waitrose’s store network to 600, including more convenience stores, as part of efforts to increase its market share to 10 per cent. It currently holds 4.2 per cent of the grocery market according to Nielsen.

Elsewhere, despite the Olympic boost in August, analysts have forecast that Morrisons will report a fall in like for like sales and profit later this week. The supermarket is expected to outline a raft of initiatives later this week to counter criticism over sluggish performance.

CEO Dalton Philips is expected to announce the launch of a non-food website and a discount scheme offering cheaper fuel when Morrisons’ customers shop with a number of partner retailers thought to include Next, Homebase and Boots.

Philips, who is coming under pressure for the slow roll out of its convenience business and development of its online channels, is also expected to accelerate the roll out of new ‘fresh format’ stores that have been trialled over the past year and further convenience stores.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here