By Ruth Lloyd-Evans, Retailer Services, Nielsen Ireland
Easter fell early this year on Sunday April 8th 2012, versus Sunday April 24th in 2011. Nielsen TSR* figures for this seasonal period showed a positive story overall, with grocery sales up +3% Easter week versus last year in value terms.
Easter Eggs generated over €15m worth of sales in the Multiples** in the 4 weeks ending Easter Sunday 8th April 2012, with value sales experiencing a positive +14%, almost €2m more sold than the four weeks to Easter last year.
Fresh Cut Flowers and Cards also enjoyed a surge as sales increased +6% and 16% respectively compared to Easter Week 2011. And in terms of Assortments (Chocolate Boxes), although in decline in the four week run-up to Easter, the category experienced a positive boost Easter week, with sales +24% on last year. Chocolate boxes may have been an alternative to Easter Eggs, which had notably run off the shelves in a lot of stores by the Easter weekend.
The long weekend is a great opportunity to enjoy a fry-up or brunch. Breakfast meat value sales were up marginally on last year, while Eggs experienced +13% growth (Egg performance is also reflective of double digit growth in Home Baking).
Packaged Tea & Coffee sales experienced over +15% growth, while Morning Goods (Croissants/Pancakes etc.) up a staggering +19%, Preserves +9% (all versus performance on Easter Week 2011). Consumers evidently also enjoyed leisurely breakfast mornings perusing the weekend papers, as Newspaper sales experienced almost +8% growth in sales. Newspapers & Magazines have for a long time appeared to be a casualty of the recession, however have been achieving reasonably positive growth rates in recent months.
With regards lunch occasions, figures show Fresh Meat value sales +2% on last year in the Multiples. Clearly the traditional Easter Sunday lunch was the order of the day in most households with Lamb & Turkey sales both up a positive +20% on last year.
While Beers out-performed in the previous Bank Holiday weekend (St Patrick’s Day/Mother’s day w/e 18th March 2012), in terms of Easter week, Beers sales were down despite significant multi-pack offers in the major multiple retailers. Wine sales however were up +10% this Easter Week versus Easter 2011. Growth was driven by Table Wine (Sparkling -4%). Spirits also did well for Easter, sales were up +8%, with retailers and suppliers providing strong offers for the key seasonal event.
With schools being off on Mid-Term, a lot of Ambient Grocery Staples also experienced an uplift. Rice, Soups, Sauces, Home Baking, Crisps & Snacks, Flat Breads, Cold Meats all experienced higher than average uplifts. Plus it may be that some consumers seized the opportunity for a little spring cleaning as in Non Food, Cleaning product sales were up +13% on Easter last year!
The Bank Holiday is always a good opportunity for retailers to drive some strong growth, however while grocery sales experienced a positive uplift, Nielsen Ad Spend recorded a decline in overall press advertising spend by major supermarkets (-16% versus Easter Week 2011). Only Aldi and Lidl increased their press ad spend and the Discounters ranked along with Supervalu in terms of having highest share of voice in press Easter week 2012.
*Source: Nielsen Total Store Read up to w.e. 8th Apr 2012. **Multiples=Tesco/SuperValu/SuperQuinn/EuroSpar/Marks & Spencer ROI.
1Ad Spend press advertising Easter week = w/e 8th April 2012 (versus w/e 24th April 2011) for Tesco/SuperValu/SuperQuinn/EuroSpar/Marks & Spencer ROI/ Aldi/Lidl