Coronavirus: ‘£1.9bn grocery stockpiling spree’ ahead of lockdown

UK shoppers spent an extra £1.9bn stockpiling groceries in the run-up to the coronavirus lockdown, according to figures for the industry.

The data from Nielsen follows a brutal week for the wider retail sector that has seen high street operations all but shut down, with hundreds of thousands of staff given a leave of absence pending wage support from the government.

Supermarkets handled an additional 79 million shopping trips in the four weeks to 21 March, the report said, as consumers rushed to get essentials.

Separate data from Kantar Worldpanel showed the month of March was the biggest on record for UK grocery sales.

Nielsen charted an 84% surge in frozen food sales last week alone, compared to the same period last year, saying there was a clear trend showing that households had already picked up other necessities including medicines.

As the government announced the closure of pubs and restaurants, in-store sales of beer, wine and spirits were 67% up.

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