Discounters keep up pressure on top retailers

The big four UK supermarkets and The Co-operative have all lost market share in the 12 weeks to 10 November, new data from Kantar Worldpanel has shown.

City analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley, from Shore Capital, said this had never been seen before. “The weakest of the big four players were Asda and Tesco UK, while Sainsbury’s, to its credit, sustained the strongest trading momentum of the major players,” they said.

“Morrisons reported a modicum of share improvement year-on-year (YOY), albeit against very favourable two-year comparatives. However, Morrisons stabilisation still under-performed the market.”

It was not all negative in the grocery sector, however, as Aldi pulled an all-time record share high of 3.9% “as its consistent rise continues unabated”, said Kantar director Edward Garner.

“The number of shoppers visiting Aldi has grown by 16% year-on-year at the same time as the average basket size has swelled by nearly 15%. In fact, almost a third of British households have shopped in Aldi in the past 12 weeks,” he explained. Lidl, too, has also experienced positive sales (13.8%) in the 12 weeks to 10 November and remains strong.

Yet, Garner hinted that success was not likely to sit with the discounters for long and said: “In direct contrast, sales of premium products have also increased significantly over the past year. This Christmas, shoppers will be seeking both luxury and lower prices.”

Such a prediction has already come true for two supermarkets, as Tesco’s Finest range experienced a 16% year-on-year growth in the 12 weeks recorded. Figures also showed a lift of 12% in Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range.

The figures according to Kantar Worldpanel:
• Sainsbury’s growth of 2.6% is the highest of this group, but dips just below the market average of 3.2%;
• Morrisons’ YOY sales growth continues to be positive after the declines seen at the start of the year;
• Waitrose continues to shrug off the market turmoil as it sees its share increase yet again – an unbroken trend since mid-2009;
• Grocery inflation stands at 3.7% for the 12-week period ending 10 November 2013. This exceeds the overall grocery market growth of 3.2% and implies pressure on households to manage down their ‘personal inflation’ by seeking lower prices.


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