Tesco triumphs in Christmas battle as shoppers spend £1bn more than 2016

Tesco update

Tesco was the best performing grocer over the crucial Christmas trading period, which saw average households shrug off economic worries to spend a record £1054 on groceries over the final quarter of 2017.

According to the latest Kantar Worldpanel UK grocery market share figures, Tesco recorded a 3.1 per cent rise in sales in the three-month period ending December 31 – its sales growth the retailer has seen since June and beating Big 4 rivals Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

Asda grew sales by 2.2 per cent, Morrisons recorded 2.1 per cent of growth while Sainsbury’s was up two per cent.

While Tesco’s market share decreased by 0.2 per cent to 28 per cent, it was still well ahead of its nearest rival Sainsbury’s, which recorded a market share of 16.4 per cent – a three per cent year-on-year decline.

Asda and Morrisons also saw their grocery market share figures decline by 0.2 per cent, to 15.3 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.

However, market share growth at Aldi and Lidl continued to outpace the Big 4, with the German discounters both recording sales rises of 16.8 per cent.

Overall online supermarket sales enjoyed their biggest ever Christmas: up 4.9 per cent year-on-year.

Ocado comfortably outpaced the online grocery market, increasing sales by 8.4 per cent to account for 1.3 per cent of the grocery market – a 0.1 per cent uptick.

Meanwhile, sales at Waitrose and Iceland increased by 2.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent, but its market shares dipped 0.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent to 5.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

The Co-op was the only grocer to have recorded a decline in sales, with a 0.2 per cent drop, and its market share also dipped 0.1 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

“Overall supermarket sales increased in value by 3.8 per cent, with an additional £1 billion ringing through the tills compared to the same festive period last year,” Kantar Worldpanel head of retail Fraser McKevitt said.

“Shoppers parted with £747 million on December 22 alone, making the Friday before Christmas the busiest shopping day ever recorded.

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest data also indicated that grocery inflation saw like-for-like prices rise by 3.7 per cent.

“Shoppers are splashing out despite fewer promotions to tempt them. Only 36 per cent of spending was on items on offer this year – the lowest level of promotional activity at Christmas since 2009,” McKevitt said.

Separate market share figures from Nielsen, which were also released today, indicated that shoppers spent almost £500 million more on groceries in December compared to the prior year, with Tesco also seeing the largest sales growth of the Big 4 in the final quarter.

Nielsen’s data also showed that grocery spend in the four weeks ending December 30 hit £10.5 billion, a 3.7 per cent year-on-year rise.

“The supermarkets did well this Christmas, particularly amid fierce price competition and shoppers starting to feel the squeeze on disposable incomes,” Nielsen UK head of retailer insight Mike Watkins said.

“It was in stark contrast to many high street retailers who saw less footfall and sales declines.

“The timing of Christmas Day certainly helped as it was conducive to last minute indulgences and fresh foods, however, some supermarkets used private-label and branded promotions to drive Christmas footfall.”

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