Households are buying fewer grocery items than last year despite speculation about stockpiling ahead of Brexit, figures show.
Households bought 0.9% fewer items than the same quarter last year, suggesting “talk about stockpiling might be just that”, analysts Kantar said.
However, the market welcomed a return to growth despite the political uncertainty, with sales by value increasing by 0.5% over the 12 weeks to September 8.
Lidl gained an extra 618,000 shoppers compared with last year while a third of British households shopped at the Co-op, helping it to increase sales by 1.8%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “As we move closer to October 31, it seems talk about stockpiling might be just that because we’re not seeing any evidence of it at the moment.
“In fact, households bought 0.9% fewer items during the past 12 weeks than they did last year.”
Ocado was again the fastest growing grocery retailer overall as sales increased by 12.7%, with customers buying at least 20% more ice cream, cheese and sparkling wine.
Sales at Asda and Tesco fell by 1% and 1.4% respectively, while Morrisons’ market share dipped to 9.9% as sales fell by 2%.
Waitrose sales declined by 1.3% and Iceland by 2%.
Figures from analysts Nielsen show the late August bank holiday heatwave lifted total supermarket sales by 2.2% over the last four weeks.
Shoppers spent £193 million more than they did in the same period last year, with nearly half of this at discounters and high street value retailers.