Shoppers splash out on premium treats
Sales of supermarkets' premium own-label brands are booming as shoppers decide to treat themselves.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 4 December show a 13% sales rise for the products, despite sluggish growth overall for food retailers.
Sales of Morrisons' The Best range are up 35%, Asda's Extra Special products have increased sales by 15%, while Aldi's Specially Selected is up 10%.
Kantar expects premium private label sales to rise further this Christmas.
Fraser McKevitt, head of Kantar's retail and consumer insight, said 88% of consumers now bought items from premium own-label ranges.
"In the past 12 weeks, 6.3% of own-label purchases were from premium lines such as Tesco Finest and Sainsbury's Taste the Difference - well ahead of the 5.7% recorded last year," he said.
Aldi was the only retailer to record double-digit sales growth overall, with a 10% rise compared with the same period last year. It also increased its market share to 6.2%.
It was followed by Iceland, which posted an 8.6% jump in sales.
In the latest 12-week period, Tesco increased its market share from 28% to 28.3%, while Sainsbury's fell from 16.7% to 16.5% and Asda slipped from 16.2% to 15.3%.
Mr McKevitt said that shoppers were yet to feel any effect of inflation picking up, with a typical basket of everyday groceries 0.1% cheaper than this time last year.
However, some categories are on the rise, with fresh fish jumping 5.3%, chilled ready meals 2.3% more expensive, and beer up 2.1%.
Prices were still falling overall, and shoppers were spending less on items on special offer than they did this time last year.
"Some 36.9% of spending was on offers during the past 12 weeks, down from nearly 40% in the 12 weeks to December 2015," Mr McKevitt said.
"Promotional activity has dipped across all five of the biggest retailers, reflecting ongoing efforts to simplify shopping and offer more of an everyday low pricing model, which relies far less heavily on promotions."