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Big 4 shows early recovery signs in latest grocery market share figures


New grocery market shareata released today has indicated continuing growth across the board for the second month in a row.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending September 11 show that despite continued deflation of 1.1 per cent, supermarket sales increased by 0.3 per cent – boosted by an 8.5 per cent growth in alcohol sales as shoppers celebrated Britain’s summer of success at the Olympics and Paralympics.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s data for the four weeks to September 10 showed that the value of sales was up 0.4 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, and sales volumes increased 0.3 per cent.

Nielsen said the significance of this was that both metrics haven’t been positive for two consecutive months in over two years, and attributed the growth to people making more shopping trips which benefited supermarkets with small store formats.

In addition, Nielsen said Tesco had its best year-on-year performance this year, with sales for the 12 weeks ending September 10 dipping only 0.2 per cent compared to the same period last year. 



 “With both value and volume growth most weeks since the middle of July we’re seeing the green shoots of recovery for the leading supermarkets in their battle against the discounters and price deflation," Nielsen UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins said.

“A sustained period of good weather and soaring temperatures into September also helped, as did an improved performance from Tesco, and continued good momentum at the likes of Co-op and Waitrose."

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While the Big 4, led by Tesco, continues to have a stronghold on the grocery sector in the UK, German supermarket retailers Aldi and Lidl continue to challenge them with rapid market share growth.

The biggest winner was Aldi, whose market share went from 5.6 per cent to 6.2 per cent year-on-year for the 12 weeks to September 10, a growth of 11.6 per cent, according to Kantar.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s data said its market share grew from 6.4 per cent to 7.3 per cent in the same year-on-year period, or a 15.5 per cent growth.


Nielsen's latest grocery market share figures:


“Aldi and Lidl continue to grow – not only are both continuing to expand their store estates but existing customers are visiting more frequently and upping their basket size,” Kantar’s head of retail insight Fraser McKevitt said.

“The discounters are helping drive the industry-wide growth in premium own-label lines, with marketing campaigns moving away from showcasing only price to a focus on quality.

“Shoppers now spend an average of £19.24 when visiting the discount retailers and at a time of falling prices this increase of four per cent is not to be sniffed at.”

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Despite the early signs of recovery from for most of the Big 4 – Asda was once again the biggest loser of the group – Kantar and Nielsen’s data indicated that market share between all supermarket chains was as intense as ever.

“Particularly with Tesco and, soon, Morrison’s back in growth,” Watkins said.

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“There’s a lot of market share to play for in the £40 billion sales opportunity up to the end of the year.

“This is why the supermarkets need to maintain price cuts as part of a strategy to win back market share from the discounters who are expected to respond by increasing advertising spend again in the run up to Christmas.”

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Published on Tuesday 20 September by Elias Jahshan

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