Welcome to the January-February issue of Grocery Trader. We welcome the latest figures from Kantar which show take-home grocery sales rose by 11.4% during the 12 weeks to 27 December 2020, a period spanning both the November national lockdown and Christmas. December was the busiest month ever for British supermarkets as tightening restrictions and the closure of restaurants, bars and cafés across most of the country meant shoppers spent £11.7 billion on take-home groceries in four weeks.

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Online grocery also did well, with the online share of grocery sales at UK supermarkets doubling to 12.5% in the four weeks ending 26 December 2020. This is up from online’s 6.7% share of sales during the same time in 2019, in what was the biggest December on record, reveals new data released by Nielsen.

Among the winners was Tesco, which saw sales up +8.4% in the sixth consecutive Christmas of growth and visits to Tesco.com up 93%, the retailer exceeding its all-time records for home deliveries and click and collect. Lidl GB achieved a record Christmas with overall sales increasing 17.9% in the same 4-week period to 27 December versus the prior year, meaning it was the fastest growing retailer versus the Big 4 supermarkets and main competitors. A spike in demand for premium products helped drive Aldi’s best ever Christmas sales, with sales rising by 10.6% In the four weeks to December 24 compared with the same trading period a year ago.

Aldi is not simply stashing that profit in its shareholders’ back pockets. With one in five children living in food poverty, the supermarket is pledging to donate 10 million meals to families in need in 2021 – working with giving platform Neighbourly, and with the support of Marcus Rashford MBE.

Imperial Tobacco Limited is the UK’s largest tobacco manufacturer, with a product portfolio including Lambert & Butler, JPS, Players and Golden Virginia. On our Supplier Spotlight page, David Robins, Head of Marketing at Imperial Tobacco, tells Grocery Trader about the launch of Embassy Signature, a new range of factory made cigarettes offering premium features but without the premium price.

Owner of soft candy brands Bebeto and Dexters, Kervan Gida has grown to become Turkey’s largest soft candy producer and exporter. UK Brand Marketing Manager Gabriella Egleton discusses Bebeto’s range of vegan approved 200g and 70g Licorice products on our Meet the Marketer page.

Alcohol is enjoying a surge in at-home consumption, thanks to the lockdown. Our alcohol feature has all the latest on beers, wines and spirits.

Now that January is here, it’s already time to prepare the shelves for Easter, the second largest confectionery season after Christmas. Our Easter feature gives you all the confectionery news.

Enjoy reading the issue.

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