Retail sales of fresh and frozen lamb continue to run well ahead of last year, with increased promotions driving consumer interest.

According to analyst Kantar, sales increased by 12% in the four weeks to 25 November, compared with the same period last year. Over a 12-week period sales were up by 6% on last year, with the full year data showing a 4% rise.

“While sales are starting to recover they remain well below historic levels, being approximately a third below late 2007 and early 2008,” said a report by EBLEX. “This is the result of lower domestic production, rising exports and lower imports. Nevertheless, with the rise in retail prices stemming from supply shortages, expenditure on lamb is roughly the same as it was in 2007-2008.”

Beef sales over the past year dropped by 5% in volume terms, but higher prices meant expenditure was up by 4%, to over £2bn for the first time, said the report. “This indicates higher prices are being absorbed to some extent. But domestic consumption continues to be crucial to returns as the home market takes approximately 80% of UK production.”

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