December was the busiest month ever for British supermarkets as tightening Covid-19 restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars and cafés meant shoppers spent £11.7 billion ($15.9 billion) on groceries, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Market researcher Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose 11.4% year-on-year over the 12 weeks to Dec. 27 — a period spanning both the November national lockdown in England and Christmas.
"December is always an incredibly busy time for supermarkets, but take-home grocery shopping is usually supplemented by celebrations in restaurants, pubs and bars — with 4 billion (pounds) spent on food and drink, excluding alcohol, out of the home during the normal festive month," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
"This year, almost all those meals were eaten at home and retailers stepped up monumentally to meet the surge in demand," he said.
Kantar said digital orders accounted for 12.6% of grocery spend during December, compared with 7.4% in December 2019.
Morrisons was the best performer of Britain's big four grocers with sales up 13.1% year-on-year over the 12 weeks.
Its market share moved up by 0.1 percentage points to 10.4%, its highest level since June 2019.
Walmart-owned Asda, the No. 3, was again the laggard with growth of 7.8%.
Kantar said grocery inflation was 1.3% for the 12-week period, with prices rising fastest in markets such as canned colas, fresh pork and chilled deserts while falling in vegetables, fresh beef and bread.