Grocery Guru Episode 11: Are there any Christmas Turkeys left? with Andrew Grant and Darren A Smith

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Grocery Guru
Grocery Guru
Grocery Guru Episode 11: Are there any Christmas Turkeys left? with Andrew Grant and Darren A Smith
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Grocery Sales Christmas 2020: Who Are the Winners and the Turkeys?

Join Andrew Grant and Darren A. Smith in the eleventh episode of Grocery Guru: Are there any Christmas Turkey Leftovers? It’s that time of the year where we get to reflect upon the results of the Christmas 2020 trading period. Who were the winners and who were the turkeys when we take a look at the Christmas grocery sales 2020?

Male and female turkey next to each other in a field with yellow flowers
Who were the grocery Christmas turkeys? Grocery Sales Christmas 2020

You Can Read the Full Grocery Sales Christmas 2020 Episode Transcript Below:

 

Darren A. Smith:

Welcome to, this is week 11 of the Grocery Guru, with Andrew Grant. Andrew, how are you?

Andrew Grant:

Yes. Happy New Year, Darren. Season’s greetings.

Darren A. Smith:

Yes. Thank you. How was your Christmas?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah, very good. Very good. I can’t remember what part of lockdown we were in, but yeah, it was a pretty good Christmas, despite.

Darren A. Smith:

Yes. Then we had the announcement on Monday. But, let’s ignore that, move on straight onto grocery stuff. So, I believe the title of the episode you’ve given us this week is, Are There Any Christmas Turkey Leftovers? Which has intrigued me, because I know nothing about what we’re going to talk about this week.

Andrew Grant:

Okay. Christmas turkeys left over, maybe was the full title.

Darren A. Smith:

Ah, that one.

Andrew Grant:

No. It’s that time of the year where obviously, you get to see who were the winners and the turkeys over Christmas. So the latest Kantar data came out, I think on Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. Tuesday, I think. So here we go, Darren. Which multiple do you think was the best performing over Christmas, by a long chalk?

Darren A. Smith:

Really? Okay. Best multiple. And is this growth on growth?

Andrew Grant:

Sorry. Let’s say the best grocer.

Darren A. Smith:

The best grocer, okay. Is this growth on growth, or best overall market share?

Andrew Grant:

No, no. This is market share. This is growth in the however many weeks up to Christmas.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. All right.

Andrew Grant:

12 weeks up to the 27th of December, the country’s fastest-growing food retailer was?

Darren A. Smith:

I’m going to go Aldi. Now, I’m going to go, Aldi, because I think they were doing very well. We shopped in late December, or just before Christmas Day, and we found things like prawn rings, which were cracking value.

Andrew Grant:

Okay.

Darren A. Smith:

It was something like £3.80 for this prawn ring of 70 prawns.

Andrew Grant:

Okay. All right. So your answer is Aldi?

Darren A. Smith:

It is.

Andrew Grant:

I’ll change the question then. Which was the worst-performing retailer over Christmas? Because it’s the same answer, Darren.

Darren A. Smith:

Oh, is it?

Andrew Grant:

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Aldi only showed 6% growth in a market that grew by 11.3.

Darren A. Smith:

Wow.

Andrew Grant:

I know. I was shocked for about five seconds, but there’s a very obvious answer.

Darren A. Smith:

All right. So obvious that I don’t know it. I can’t even reach for it. So let me just understand. So they were five points of growth behind the average, Aldi?

Andrew Grant:

Behind the average. And when I tell you who the biggest, or when you guess who the biggest grower is, they were 30-odd points behind the biggest grower.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay.

Andrew Grant:

So what have we been talking about, quite a few of the last 10-odd episodes? What’s been the biggest change in grocery this year because of the pandemic?

Darren A. Smith:

Okay. So we’re talking about online shopping, I guess.

Andrew Grant:

Okay. And what haven’t Aldi got?

Darren A. Smith:

Online shopping. Very good point, Andrew. Very good point. I think you’ve caught me out.

Andrew Grant:

Absolutely. So I think Aldi has really, really suffered. If you think the last three or four years we’ve expected to see double-digit growth from the likes of Aldi and Lidl. A lot of it because of new stores, obviously. But yeah, worst performing multiple, Aldi, principally, I think because they haven’t got a big online shopping presence. Lidl interestingly managed to show 15% growth, but they did a very big, I think it was, spend £40 and save £15. They did a very deep discount coupon promotion-

Darren A. Smith:

Right, okay.

Andrew Grant:

… during Christmas, which I think obviously saved their bacon, as it were.

Darren A. Smith:

Well, it clearly did. Whatever marketing guru who came up with that, thumbs up to you.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. So you should now be able to guess, based on the Aldi answer, who was the fastest-growing retailer?

Darren A. Smith:

Ocado?

Andrew Grant:

Ocado, yeah. 38-odd percent growth. So obviously, that M&S tie-up, where they’ve obviously now sorted out a lot of the early teething troubles is absolutely rocking and rolling for them.

Darren A. Smith:

Cor. Is it true that they are trying to hang on to COVID and stop the vaccinations?

Andrew Grant:

Well, who knows?

Darren A. Smith:

No. But it’s come up.

Andrew Grant:

But yeah, so I think those are probably the two standouts. Your usual suspects all did pretty well. Tesco, 11% growth, Sainsbury’s, 11% growth, Morrison’s, 13. Iceland, 21, pretty good. So look, a really healthy grocery market. Not surprisingly, a lot of non-essential retail struggling or not allowed to open. Home delivery just going bananas, and people having to change their eating plans for Christmas at the last minute, obviously had to go out and shop differently. I imagine the amount of waste would have been horrific.

Darren A. Smith:

Oh, I think it will have been. Just coming back to what you said on Iceland. So they doubled the market growth. And I’m just racking my brain thinking, what did Iceland particularly do? I certainly didn’t notice anything in their marketing that would have achieved double growth for Christmas.

Andrew Grant:

Remember, Iceland’s customer demographic is probably older and slightly more downmarket than others. They can’t go out and shop every week. They probably just fill their freezer for a month.

Darren A. Smith:

Could be. Could be.

Andrew Grant:

Massive, massive generalisation, but you imagine Iceland benefiting from people stocking up because of the worries about the lockdown.

Darren A. Smith:

Let me add another generalisation to that. With the economy, the way it is people losing their jobs, unfortunately, redundancies and so on, are people down shopping a bit? Dropping a level? Could be.

Andrew Grant:

Well, interesting, because on top of those Kantar figures, were starting to get the Christmas trading statements. We’ve had Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s so far, Tesco’s is next week. Very much what Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s are saying in their Citi updates, mirror the Kantar data. So Morrison’s, 9.3% like for like over Christmas. Sainsbury’s 9.3, the same. Morrison’s saying champagne sales up 64%, fresh salmon up 40%, their online business up 300%.

Darren A. Smith:

Wow.

Andrew Grant:

What other? Oh, yes. And online sales accounting for 13% of all their business, and for Sainsbury’s, 18% of all their business. Everything we’ve seen since lockdown one, all coming together at Christmas, and the big players with home delivery and online cleaning up.

Darren A. Smith:

A win. So was that Sainsbury’s one in every five pounds spent at Sainsbury’s is online?

Andrew Grant:

No, no, no. So hang on. 18%. Yeah, getting on for one in five. Yeah.

Darren A. Smith:

Okay.

Andrew Grant:

Near enough.

Darren A. Smith:

One in five. Wow. And let me make another stonking generalization that may or may not be true. Are we starting to see the population maybe split between those who are financially struggling, maybe they’re downtrading a bit, moving more into Iceland, those who maybe have more stability, but can’t go out, can’t go to restaurants anymore, stocking up on champagne, fresh salmon? Maybe they’re moving up a bit in their tiers.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah, obviously. I’ve got a figure here somewhere. Yeah, normally four billion is spent out of home over the festive period on drinking in pubs, eating in restaurants, having Christmas parties, and what have you. That four billion obviously transferred pretty much lock, stock and barrel into those figures. So that 11% total growth for the multiple markets, pretty much has come at the expensive of your Mitchells & Butlers, and your restaurant chains, and what have you. Only looking at the news today, I think Mitchell & Butlers, 40 million a month they’re burning through, just to keep their pub chains closed. It’s scary stuff for hospitality.

Darren A. Smith:

Well, it’s one of those machines that are very big, operates on an okay margin. But as soon as that margin stops, the costs still keep ramping through, and you’re going to burn through it, what, three, six months before you go and struggle?

Andrew Grant:

Yeah. So there we are. Snapshot of what Christmas looked like, 2020. If you’re in supermarket land, you probably had to work exceptionally hard, but you’re reaping some pretty good rewards.

Darren A. Smith:

So the three highlights will be the winner is Ocado of this Christmas. Christmas 2020.

Andrew Grant:

The winner is definitely Ocado, plus the usual suspects, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s. Stand out is Aldi. I think there’ll be a lot of questions being asked in Aldi HQ about those figures.

Darren A. Smith:

And the second point is roughly one in every five pounds spent at Sainsbury’s is now online.

Andrew Grant:

Yeah.

Darren A. Smith:

Another big one. And our third one. What’s our third stand out for you?

Andrew Grant:

Well, I think we just said that there’s this disparity. People went out and indulged themselves if they had the money, but there’s a lot of people seriously struggling out there. You just see the figures, I think again, a couple of days ago, the number of food banks and the number of people accessing food banks, we are massively polarizing between the haves and the have-nots.

Darren A. Smith:

Yeah, we are. A lot of people struggling out there. We wish them well. All right. Andrew, till next week, be safe. Thank you very much.

Andrew Grant:

Take care.

Darren A. Smith:

Take care. Bye-bye.


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