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Morrisons increases share of ‘challenging’ market


Morrisons was the only big four supermarket to increase its market share in the 12 weeks ending August 7th 2011, as trading conditions remained difficult for the grocery sector.

According to figures published by Kantar Worldpanel today, the larger players in the industry faced a strong battle to maintain their percentage of sales as significant numbers of consumers opted to buy from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

Tesco’s piece of the grocery pie was down 0.3 per cent year-on-year to 30.5 per cent, Asda’s market share dropped 0.5 per cent to 17.1 per cent and Sainsbury’s maintained its 16.1 per cent portion of the grocery sector, but Morrisons now holds 11.7 per cent after impressive sales.

Trade at the Bradford-based retailer, which is currently trialling a new convenience store format in the UK, increased 4.6 per cent annually to total £2.73 million for the 12-week period, but activity in the more niche sectors of the supermarket sector is perhaps most noteworthy.

Aldi sales were up an impressive 24.4 per cent year-on-year as its market share rose to 3.6 per cent and trading at Lidl jumped 13.8 per cent, continuing the two discounters’ rapid rise in popularity since the start of 2011.

Edward Garner, Director at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “It is evident that shoppers are trying to manage their ‘personal’ inflation by trading down - this can be done by seeking out lower priced outlets and cheaper alternative products.

“It’s therefore unsurprising that the discounters have pushed further ahead this month.”

The current grocery landscape does not just represent a simple case of people trading down in difficult economic times however, because upmarket Waitrose continues to make up ground on the leading retailers operating in the sector.

Over the summer months, the John Lewis Partnership supermarket has flourished, with the company revealing last week that sales were up 8.7 per cent year-on-year during the first six months of its financial year.

Each month that goes by seems to add further evidence to the notion that there is a growing divide between the comfortable and the cash-strapped in the UK.

“While the discounters are prospering we are not seeing the shift towards consumers buying more own-label products that might be expected from cost cutting,” Garner added.

“In fact, budget own-label is showing only muted growth of two per cent, while premium own-label is growing at over eight per cent, confirming that despite economic pressures, low-price is not the only motivation in this market.

“This is further demonstrated by the continued ‘two nations’ theme, as Waitrose shrugs off any gloom with sales growth of 8.3% for the 12 weeks to August 7th - over double the market growth.”

Published on Tuesday 16 August by Editorial Assistant

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