Big 4 grocers except Sainsbury’s witness growth slowdown

Kantar Fraser McKevitt
Online grocery shopping levels dropped back as more people returned to stores
// Grocery sales growth slowed to 7.4% for the period ending March 21
// Sales were down 3% year-on-year in the most recent four weeks
// Grocery spending remains 15.6% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019

New research has found that the growth of grocery sales has slowed to 7.4 per cent for the period ending March 21.

Sales were down three per cent year on year in the most recent four weeks, though grocery spending remains 15.6 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Online grocery shopping levels dropped back as more people returned to stores, visiting 13 million more times than in February, according to new figures by Kantar.


READ MORE: Grocery sales surge 9.4% on the back of record online sales


Online sales were 89 per cent higher than this time last year, but the channel’s share of the market dropped back to 14.5 per cent from the record of 15.4 per cent in February this year.

The over-65s that have been largely vaccinated, have stepped up their confidence by increasing their trips to supermarkets by 6.8 per cent – more than double the national rate.

“Spring’s arrival signals the start of a really interesting period for the grocery market,” Kantar chief executive Fraser McKevitt said.

“The anniversary of the first national lockdown means we begin to compare grocery sales against the record-breaking levels seen in the early days of the pandemic and growth has perhaps not surprisingly dipped over the past four weeks as a result.

“This time last year, Brits were adjusting to schools and offices closing and making extra trips to the supermarket to fill their cupboards for lockdown.

“To put that into context, shoppers made 117 million fewer trips to the supermarket this month compared with those fraught weeks in March 2020.”


Tesco increased its sales by 8.5 per cent and once again gained share to capture 27.1 per cent of the market, up by 0.3 percentage points compared with the same 12 weeks last year.

Asda grew ahead of the market and edged up its market share from 15.0 per cent to 15.1 per cent.

Morrisons’ sales growth of 8.7 per cent meant a share increase of 0.1 percentage points to 10.1 per cent, while sales at Sainsbury’s rose by 7.3 per cent to hold share steady at 15.3 per cent.

Ocado’s sales jumped by 33.9 per cent, taking market share up to 1.9 per cent from 1.5 per cent a year ago.

Meanwhile, German discounters Lidl and Aldi, which have not benefited from the rise in digital sales, grew by 2.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Co-op sales rose by 7.1 per cent, with its shoppers visiting an average of 22 times during the 12 weeks.

Frozen food retailer Iceland’s sales increased by 14.3 per cent, with particularly strong growth among families with children, while sales at upmarket grocer Waitrose rose by 5.1 per cent.

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