British grocery inflation slowed again in November, while the rise in the cost of a traditional Christmas dinner is tracking well below the headline rate, industry data showed on Tuesday.
Food inflation’s recent downward trajectory is being closely watched by consumers, the Bank of England as it considers the direction of interest rates, and lawmakers, given Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to halve overall inflation this year ahead of a probable national election in 2024.
Market researcher Kantar said annual grocery inflation was 9.1 per cent in the four weeks to Nov. 26, down from 9.7 per cent in last month’s report. It said grocery sales rose 6.3 per cent year-on-year over the same period, with 28.4 per cent of sales made on promotion, the highest in over two years.
The researcher said the average cost of a frozen turkey Christmas dinner for four with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and sparkling wine was up 1.3 per cent at 31.71 pounds ($40.00), with Brussels sprouts and the pudding cheaper year-on-year.
Kantar said prices are rising fastest in markets such as eggs, sugar confectionery and frozen potato products.
The data provides the most up-to-date snapshot of UK grocery inflation.
The most recent official data showed annual food inflation was 10.1 per cent in October, having reached its highest since 1977 in March at more than 19 per cent.
Kantar said discounters Lidl and Aldi, Ocado (OCDO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) and market leader Tesco (TSCO.L) were the best performers over the 12 weeks to Nov. 26.
It noted that Sainsbury’s, the No. 2 player, delivered its largest market share gain in over a decade, taking an additional 0.4 percentage points.
Kantar forecast December would see grocery sales hit over 13 billion pounds for the first time, reflecting the ongoing price inflation.
Separately on Tuesday, data from the British Retail Consortium showed retail sales growth remained sluggish in November despite Black Friday deals, as the ongoing cost-of-living squeeze prompted shoppers to rein in spending on non-essential items.
UK supermarkets’ market share and sales growth ( per cent)
($1 = 0.7928 pounds)