In Brief

How coronavirus put the weekly shop back in vogue

Tesco boss says transactions have halved as basket size doubles

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The boss of Tesco says the weekly shop is back in fashion as consumers revert to making one big weekly trip to the supermarket.

Dave Lewis said Covid-19 social distancing measures mean consumers are shopping less frequently and bringing back the approach of a decade ago.

He said that although the number of transactions this month has nearly halved, the size of the average basket had doubled.

“People are shopping once a week, a little like they did 10 or 15 years ago, rather than two, three or four times a week that was happening before the crisis,” he said.

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Data from Kantar supports Lewis’ comments. The retail consultancy said households made a “record low” number of trips to the supermarket in the 12 weeks to 19 April.

“Grocery sales were £524m higher in the past four weeks than they were in April 2019, as British consumers adapted to life under lockdown,” Kantar said. 

On average, it explained, households shopped only 14 times for groceries over the past month, a record low and down from 17 in pre-pandemic times.

“A drop in frequency was matched by a corresponding uplift in the amount spent on each trip to £26.02 - easily the highest figure ever recorded by Kantar and £7 greater than last year.”

Last month, Downing Street said that the recommendation members of the public should shop once a week was not official guidance.

The statement came after transport secretary Grant Shapps said people should only shop once a week to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he had said: “People know the rules that have been set, try and shop just once a week. Just do the essentials, not everything else.”

A spokesperson for the prime minister later clarified that “the guidance does not specify that”.

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