Horsemeat: Tesco takes new market share hit

Tesco’s market share has come under pressure, revealed in the first retailer share data since the breaking of horsemeat contamination scandal.

The information, published in a Kantar Worldpanel report yesterday, covers the 12 weeks ending 17 February. According to Kantar, the figures have revealed the impact of the first five weeks of the scandal, which broke the week ending 16 January.

Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner said the issue has only affected the performance of individual markets so far, "rather than where consumers are choosing to shop". He added: "For the four weeks ending 17 February, frozen burger sales were down 43% and frozen ready meals declined by 13%, clearly demonstrating a change in shopping habits.

"Tesco’s share has come under pressure during this period, with a drop from 30.1% a year ago to 29.7% now. It might seem natural to attribute this decline to the horsemeat contamination; however, Tesco undertook heavy promotions this time last year, when consumers received a £5 voucher when they spent £40, and not repeating this offer will have adversely affected its share," he said.

Sainsbury’s is the only retailer in the big four to increase market share in this period and is beating the market so far with a 4.6% growth rate. Out of the four, Morrisons was the only retailer to post a sales decline.

Waitrose and Aldi posted all-time record shares of 4.8% and 3.3% for the period, "respectively indicating that market polarisation and the ‘two nations’ consumer climate continues. Iceland records 10.1% growth, confirming that the frozen food category as a whole remains robust," he added.

The total grocery market is growing at an annual rate of 3.7%, but this is lagging behind grocery price inflation, which is at 4.3%. Garner concluded: "This confirms the continued pressure on shoppers who are using coping strategies to reduce their personal inflation rate."

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