Sainsbury’s leads the Big 4 in run up to Christmas

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UK supermarket sales increased by 3.2 per cent thanks to price rises “keeping supermarket performance buoyant”.

In the 12 weeks to November 5, Sainsbury’s was the best performing of the Big 4 grocers, growing sales by 2.6 per cent according to Kantar Worldpanel.

This marks the first time since last April that Sainsbury’s has pulled ahead of the pack in terms of growth, seeing an additional 364,000 shoppers.

Despite the positive quarter, the grocer’s market share fell 0.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, its bigger rival Tesco was hot on its heels with sales growth of 2.3 per cent, amid news that its forthcoming merger with the UK’s largest supplier Booker has been given the green light. Its market share also dipped 0.2 per cent.

Elsewhere among the Big 4, Asda enjoyed its eighth period of sales growth jumping 1.5 per cent driven by an 88 per cent sales boost in its budget Farm Stores range.

Both Morrisons and Iceland also saw growth of 2.1 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively, but both also saw a 0.1 per cent drop in market share.

Aldi and Lidl once again outshone the leaders dramatically in terms of sales growth, rising by 13.1 per cent and 15.1 per cent respectively.

A raft of new store openings has aided Lidl in growing its market share 0.5 per cent, while Aldi’s jumped to rise 0.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent.

“Volume sales have increased by less than one per cent, meaning it’s price rises keeping supermarket performance buoyant,” head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel Fraser McKevitt said.

“Like-for-like grocery inflation now stands at 3.4 per cent – its highest level since November 2013. With the average shop currently costing £18.26, consumers are now paying an extra 62 pence each time and over the course of a year it could add £143.70 to a typical family’s grocery bill.”

According to Nielsen, who also released grocery market figures this morning, nine out of the 10 biggest supermarkets in the UK saw growth in the 12 weeks to November 4.

UK grocery sales reportedly increased 3.1 per cent year-on-year, and 1.7 per cent excluding discounters.

This represents a slight slowdown in growth thanks to a mild October and shoppers holding out until the Christmas period.

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