Supermarket sales warm up as Big Freeze hangs on

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Supermarkets reported a surge in panic-buying today as shoppers across the UK faced heavy snowfall.

Cat litter was proving popular in icy areas, with customers using it as an alternative to salt for clearing roads and pathways.

An Asda spokeswoman said sales of Wellington boots, puddings and take-away food, as well as anti-freeze products, fire logs and thermal underwear, had all seen big increases over the past two days.

She said purchases of 25kg bags of grit were up by 32 per cent, George thermal underwear by 1,000 per cent and cat litter up by 55 per cent. Fire logs were also up by 71 per cent and vacuum flasks by 129 per cent.

Sainsbury's said shoppers were stocking up on store cupboard and winter essential items.

David Bailey, Sainsbury's weather analyst, said: "We know shoppers' buying habits change according to the weather - a temperature change of three degrees from the seasonal average can result in sales of some products going up by as much as 50 per cent."

The supermarket chain said flask and travel mug sales had increased by more than 160 per cent on this time last year.

Hotpots and casseroles rose by 20 per cent, cat litter by 20 per cent and oat cereals by 50 per cent.

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