SHOPPERS are making more trips to supermarkets and buying less online as lockdown lifts and the vaccine rollout boosts confidence, according to new figures.

The latest figures from Kantar show that online supermarket sales growth has halved since the height of the pandemic, to 46 per cent, while the number of trips to grocery stores rose by four per cent month-on-month in the four weeks to April 18.

Kantar said older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the rise in so-called footfall to stores, with much of the over-65 community now vaccinated.

Overall supermarket sales rose by 5.7 per cent to £31.6 billion in the 12 weeks to April 18, in a further slowdown in the rate of growth seen a year earlier when shoppers panic-bought at the start of the coronavirus crisis.

But one-month figures showed a return to growth, with take-home grocery sales rising by 6.5 per cent in the four weeks to April 18.

Kantar said that, after the initial pre-lockdown rush in 2020, last April was comparatively quiet.

The figures also come as wider retail reopened on April 12, with lockdown restrictions lifting for non-essential retail.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “There is a growing sense that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and people are becoming more comfortable with venturing out to the supermarket.”

He added: “While the market may fluctuate between growth and decline in the months ahead, depending on the year-on-year comparison being made, the fact that trip numbers are up and basket sizes down suggests that habits are slowly returning to normal.”

The figures showed that the number of people shopping online fell for the second straight month.

The share of groceries ordered over the internet fell to 13.9 per cent in the most recent four weeks, down from a peak of 15.4 per cent in February.