Early Easter drives 30% hike in hot cross bun sales

Supermarket sales of hot cross bun were up by almost a third year on year in March, driven by this year’s early Easter.

Retailers sold £31.3m of buns in the four weeks to 25 March, up £7.7m compared to the same period a year ago, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

However, Easter fell later in the year in 2017 and it remains to be seen whether this year’s total Easter sales will eclipse 2017, when hot cross bun sales were £38m in the four weeks to 23 April.

Average prices appear to have fallen this year, as the 30.3% increase in value sales was behind the 34% hike in volumes. In contrast, average prices for Easter eggs rose 35p to £1.83, although sales were up 69% year on year.

The figures were revealed in the latest grocery market share data published by Kantar Worldpanel, which said poor weather in March “played havoc” with consumers’ usual shopping habits.

“In the run-up to and during the cold snap, shoppers stockpiled groceries, buying 4% more items than normal, increasing the average value of a trip from £14.99 to £15.80,” said Kantar Worldpanel retail and consumer insight head Fraser McKevitt.

“Warming foods and drinks were the go-to items for customers after braving the snowy weather – sales of hot beverages and tinned soup grew by 8.4% and 27.5% respectively over the past month.”

Kantar Worldpanel reported that discounters Aldi and Lidl had achieved new market share highs in the 12 weeks to 25 March, with Aldi reaching a 7.3% share and Lidl a 5.3% share.

“Aldi and Lidl are continuing to disrupt the market.  As the discounters proceed with the expansion of their store portfolios, over the past 12 weeks 63.5% of all households visited at least one of the retailers,” said McKevitt.

Meanwhile, Tesco sales of branded goods overtook own-label groceries for the first time since June 2015, as the retailer held its share at 27.6% (see table below).

Overall online sales growth continued to slow, increasing by 3.6% compared to this time last year.

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