Lidl grew its market share in France by 40 basis points in December, putting the discounter on a market share of 5.8% as the year drew to a close, according to the latest data from Kantar.
Data for the period from 2 to 29 December (P13), found that traffic at the discounter grew by 3.2% in December, however its media spend (radio, press and TV) fell by 12% in the period.
In total, for 2019, Lidl recorded an average of 5.9% market share, Kantar said.
The discounter recently announced its target to open 50 new stores per year in France by 2022, having almost achieved that target last year with its takeover of 16 former Casino outlets and 17 former Leader Price stores.
Rival Aldi, which according to media reports is in discussion with Casino to acquire its Leader Price business, saw its market share rise 10 basis points to 2.4% in December, growing both its customer numbers and customer loyalty in the period.
Elsewhere, E.Leclerc maintained its leadership position in the market, growing its market share by 30 basis points to put it on 22.2% share.
The retailer saw a strong contribution from its Drive outlets, Kantar said, with overall traffic in its stores (and to Drive) growing by 0.7%. Across the full year, E.Leclerc recorded a market share of 21.6%.
Système U was another strong performer, with a 20-basis-point gain in market share putting it on 10.8%, while Les Mousquetaires, which operates the Intermarché banner, seeing a similar market share gain, to put it on 14.8% in the month.
Overall, FMCG sales for the period fell by 2.8% compared to the same period the previous year, Kantar said. This compared to a +0.1% increase in the previous period as well.
"We know that Kantar has shifted its P13 Period which now includes the quieter post-Xmas week, however you would expect them to have adjusted for that," commented analyst Bruno Monteyne of Bernstein Research. If that data is correct, then the French market is a lot worse and we struggle to fully understand why it is that bad."
As Montyene pointed out, 2019 was the first full Kantar period to annualise the gilets jaunes strikes, which began in November 2018.
"[This] hurt Hypers traffic the most, although with French pension reform strikes also beginning in early December this year, the relief we might have expected for the FMCG market has evidently not materialised," he said. "This hit Carrefour particularly hard, as CA leaned more heavily on promotional pricing than other retailers."
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