Grocers in the UK are increasingly turning to discounts and promotions as the volumes of sales decreased during May 2011, research has revealed.

Nielsen’s grocery market data shows that unit growth at supermarkets declined by 1.3% during the four weeks to 11 June 2011, and value growth slowed to 1.1% from 2% in May.

Promotions now account for more than one third (39%) of all sales in the sector and Nielsen anticipates this to continue to increase even further during the summer as trading continues to falter.

All the major supermarkets saw at least some growth in the market share during the period but Morrisons was the clear winner, with implied sales of 3.5% year-on-year despite no new store openings, whilst Asda saw the smallest rise in market share of the top 10 grocers of just 2.9%.

Mike Watkins, Senior Manager for Retailer Services at Nielsen, said: “With mixed British summer weather returning and no large social or sporting event for the nation to celebrate in the last month, value growth has dipped and unit sales have declined year-on-year.

“In their continued plight to drive demand, retailers have maintained high levels of promotions.

“Retailers use promotions to create events. These not only help footfall, but they push up the value of the shopping basket, which is key in a market where underlying demand has weakened. There has also been more reliance on ‘multi-buys’ in the last 12 weeks.”

The emergence of the discount grocer was clear to see in the research, with Aldi and Lidl seeing higher market growth than the top four supermarkets.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit