Lock down living has driven a surge in demand at Lidl and the food courier Just Eat, with both companies posting strong sales for the final weeks of 2020.
With restaurants and cafes closed to diners, the boom in home eating led Just Eat Takeaway.com to report a 57% spike in orders across Europe during the final three months of last year, compared with a year earlier.
The leap in trade reported by the continent’s biggest food delivery service was a further acceleration in growth from the 46% jump in the third quarter.
In the UK, delivery orders surged by almost 400% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period of 2019, as many consumers were once again asked by the government to stay indoors.
Just Eat Takeaway, based in the Netherlands and one of the world’s largest online food delivery firms, said it had put “tremendous effort” into improving its British business, including a doubling of its UK sales force.
“In 2021, we will continue to invest in price leadership, improving our service levels and expanding our offering to restaurants and consumers,” said Jitse Groen, the chief executive.
Lidl also reported a record Christmas, as customers celebrated with panettone and pink prosecco.
Sales at the chain rose by 17.9% in the four weeks to 27 December, compared with the same period a year earlier. The increase was larger than those at the UK’s four biggest supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – and Aldi.
British supermarkets notched up their biggest month on record in December, with consumers spending £11.7bn on take-home groceries, according to analysts at the research group Kantar, as coronavirus restrictions led to the closure of many restaurants, pubs and cafes during the key trading period.
Lidl said shoppers bought more goods – with basket size increasing by almost 25% year on year – and British households switched £34.7m of spend to Lidl from other supermarkets.
Lidl shoppers bought more than 1m bottles of pink prosecco during the festive period, as well as 2.7m panettones. An average of 17,000 Deluxe mince pies an hour were sold during December.
Customers’ taste for premium food and drink over the Christmas period boosted their spend, and sales of Lidl’s Deluxe range climbed by 22%.
Christian Härtnagel, the chief executive of Lidl GB, said its record sales and basket size growth demonstrated the strength of the chain’s appeal.
And the store’s first branded Christmas jumper, featuring the logo as part of a festive design, appears to have topped the charts, with one sold every minute in the month to 27 December.
“Despite this Christmas being a difficult time for many across the country, we are pleased to have been able to help our customers enjoy themselves by offering high-quality food at the lowest prices on the market,” he said.