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In-store supermarket sales rise as people leave the house more thanks to vaccine rollout

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In-store supermarket sales have risen over the past quarter as people are feeling more comfortable to leave the house thanks to the vaccine rollout and the easing of restrictions.

Take-home grocery sales rose by 5.7% during the 12 weeks to 18 April, according to the latest figures from Kantar.

The past four weeks have been the busiest in store for the grocers in more than a year, as the number of trips made in April increased by 4% compared to March.

With much of the over-65 community now vaccinated, older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the increased footfall.

Grocery inflation fell for the first time since December 2016 and dipped 0.3% mostly due to promotions, as retailers prioritised filling shelves over running deals last year.

“The return to overall sales growth in the latest four-week period also reflects what was happening in April 2020, a highly unusual month for grocery shopping. After the initial pre-lockdown rush, this time last year was comparatively quiet,” said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

“While the market may fluctuate between growth and decline in the months ahead, depending on the year-on-year comparison being made, the fact that trip numbers are up and basket sizes down suggests that habits are slowly returning to normal.”

Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) gained market share, rising to 27% from 26.8% last year, with sales up 6.4% over the 12-week period.

Sales at Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) grew by 7.2%, with its share inching up to 10%, while J Sainsbury PLC’s (LON:SBRY) share remained at 15.3%, as sales advanced 6%.

In line with the wider online market, Ocado Group PLC’s (LON:OCDO) growth slowed to 27.5%, but the retailer still held on to its position as the fastest growing grocer.

The FTSE 100 online grocer rose 1% to 2,213.42p, while Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s remained flat at 222.85p, 178.39p and 243.04p respectively on Tuesday morning.

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