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UK supermarkets ‘back to normal’ as Sainsburys promotions rise 13%

Sainsbury’s has increased its promotions by 18% in the last week ending 7th June 2020, now running 13% more promotions than it did in January, signally a ‘return to normal’ for the retailer following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data.

UK supermarkets ‘back to normal’ as Sainsburys promotions rise 13%

New insight from analysts at Edge Price & Promo, part of global retail insights firm Edge by Ascential, reveals that Morrisons (7%) and Waitrose (8%) have also continued to increase their promotional levels in the last week ending 7th June, matching levels last seen prior to COVID-19. Meanwhile, Tesco has also increased promotional levels by 11% – just 20% below levels seen in January. This gradual increase in promotional levels across the major supermarkets indicates that fears over stock levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic have now passed.

In a separate analysis, Edge Price & Promo also monitored the stock levels at UK supermarkets in the last week ending 7th June 2020. All supermarkets saw moderate increases in availability, but Sainsbury’s had the greatest increase, with 4.3% of its full range of products returning to shelves.

Tinned and jarred products saw a large increase in availability, whilst tinned pasta, one of the most unavailable categories during the peak of the pandemic, saw an increase in availability of over 20% in Sainsbury’s over the last week.

Meanwhile, toilet tissue (+12.1%) saw the greatest rise in availability over the last week ending 7th June – which shows that after initial stockpiling, stock levels are largely back to normal.

Analysts at Edge Price & Promo also observed the following changes in the last two weeks ending 7th June 2020:

  • Aside from toilet tissue, the biggest risers in availability over the last week across all the major UK supermarkets was tinned pasta (+7.3%) and tinned fish (+5.1%)

  • The most out of stock products were health & vitamins (+1.4%) and frozen pastry & dough (+3.2%) as well as tinned pasta (+7.3%) – but the latter was restocked promptly.

  • However, the items that had the greatest fall in availability compared to the previous week were frozen breakfast (-5.6%), frozen burgers and meatballs (-4.1%) and cold and flu decongestants (-1.7%)

Analysts at Edge Price & Promo are continually monitoring the online stock and promotional levels of essential products at major UK supermarkets in light of the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows from the UK government’s instructions for UK consumers to remain at home in a ‘lockdown’ that was implemented on 23rd March in order to control and minimise the spread.

Chris Elliott, Insight Manager at Edge by Ascential, said: “Promotional levels have been increasing continuously over the last few weeks, but with many retailers’ promotional levels now hitting the same level or going beyond those last seen in January, it now seems safe to say that stock levels at UK supermarkets have now returned to normal. This is further supported by the items we are now seeing low in stock – the increased demand for canned food and toilet roll seems to have gone as availability for these items seem to have increased and remained steady over the last week.”


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