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Top 10 Supermarket Retail Chains In The UK

By Robert McHugh
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More than five years on from the Brexit referendum, the British supermarket industry is still navigating the logistical and transport complications that this triggered. The war in Ukraine and COVID-19 have also affected supply chains and inflation rates in a way that would have seemed unthinkable a decade ago.

Soaring inflation rates in recent months – among the highest in Europe – have led the British government to consider introducing a price cap on basic food items such as bread and milk, although such plans have drawn criticism from representative groups.

"This will not make a jot of difference to prices," the British Retail Consortium's Andrew Opie said in May. "High food prices are a direct result of the soaring cost of energy, transport, and labour, as well as higher prices paid to food manufacturers and farmers."

Elsewhere, IGD has forecast that food and drink inflation is close to peaking, after hitting +19.0% in April 2023.

“There are many variables in play, with weather and crop yields always hard to predict, but – barring major new shocks – IGD believes that food price inflation will gradually begin to slow as 2023 progresses," said James Walton, chief economist at IGD.


Here's an overview of the top ten supermarket retail chains in the UK, according to their most recently-available full-year turnover. All data is supplied by Retail-Index (

1. Tesco
Turnover: €58.13 billion (2022)

Tesco is at the top of the list with an annual turnover for 2022 that amounted to €58.13 billion, according to Retail-Index.

Founded in 1919, the retailer has 367,321 employees (as of 2021) and 4,673 stores (2021). Tesco's chief executive is Ken Murphy and the retailer holds a market share of 27.5% as of February 2023.

Recently, Tesco hit back at suggestions it was 'profiteering' during the cost of living crisis, with CEO Murphy saying the group is doing what it can to assist hard-pressed shoppers. "The key point I'd make ... is that our profits fell by 7% this year and that is despite the fact that we achieved a record level of cost savings," he told reporters. "That for me is a very material proof point that we worked very hard for both customers and for colleagues this last financial year."


Read More: Britain's Tesco Expects Flat Profit In FY 2023-24

2. Sainsbury's
Turnover: €33.79 billion (2021)

Sainsbury’s is in second place, reporting a turnover of €33.79 billion in 2021.

Sainsbury's chief executive is Simon Roberts and the retailer has a market share of 15.4%. It was founded in 1869 and has 189,000 employees, along with 1,400 outlets.

Roberts recently noted that the retailer is doing what it can to keep prices low for shoppers, saying "Our focus on value has never been greater and we have spent over £560 million keeping our prices low over the last two years."


Read More: Sainsbury's Full-Year Results – What The Analysts Said

3. Asda
Turnover: €23.66 billion (2021)

In third place, with a turnover of €23.66 billion in 2021 is Asda. Asda was founded in 1949. The retailer operates 633 stores (as of 2021) and 145,000 employees (2022). Asda holds a market share of 14.2% as of February 2023.

In May, Asda announced plans to acquire the UK and Ireland business of EG Group. This acquisition aims to establish a merged company with a total revenue approaching £30 billion (€34.62 billion).

Read More: Profit At UK Supermarket Asda Slumps On Inflation Hit


4. Morrisons
Turnover: €20.47 billion (2021)

Morrisons is in fourth place, having reported a turnover of €20.47 billion in 2021, according to Retail-Index.

It has 497 stores and over 100,000 employees. Its chief executive is David Potts. Morrisons holds a market share of 9.1% as of February 2023.

Morrisons recently announced the return of its 'More Reasons To Shop At Morrisons' advertising campaign, which celebrates the the 'real and motivating reasons' why customers choose the supermarket, it said.

Read More: Morrisons Returns To Underlying Sales Growth

5. Aldi
Turnover: €15.87 billion (2021)

In fifth place, Aldi UK recorded revenue of €15.87 billion in 2021.

It has 39,234 employees in the UK and 950 stores. It currently holds a market share of 9.2%, and its chief executive is Giles Hurley.

Read More: Discounters Surge As Grocery Price Inflation Hits 17.5% In UK: Kantar

6. Co-op
Turnover: €12.99 billion (2021)

The Co-operative 's food and wholesale business reported revenue of €12.99 billion in 2021, according to Retail-Index, putting it in sixth place in our list.

The group currently boasts 5.5% market share, and Shirine Khoury-Haq is the chief executive. Co-op has more than 2,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores in its network.

Read More: Co-op UK To Invest £240m To Boost Membership Offering

7. Lidl
Turnover: €9.05 billion (2021)

Lidl UK recorded annual turnover of €9.05 billion in 2021, putting it in seventh position.

The first Lidl GB store opened its doors in 1994, with the retailer now operating more than 950 stores and 13 regional distribution centres across Britain, employing over 23,000 people. It has a 7.1% market share.

Read More: British Supermarkets Confront Their German Discounting Demons

8. Waitrose & Partners
Turnover: €8.12 billion (2022)

Waitrose & Partners reported sales of €8.12 billion in 2022, putting it in eighth position in our list. The group is part of the John Lewis Partnership, and operates 331 stores across the UK.

Read More: Waitrose Parent John Lewis Scraps Staff Bonus As Losses Widen

9. Iceland
Turnover: €4.135 billion (2022)

Iceland operates under the Iceland and The Food Warehouse banners. Known for its frozen food offerings, Iceland reported a turnover of €4.135 billion in 2022, according to Retail-Index.

10. SPAR
Turnover: €3.69 billion (2021)

SPAR is a well-established convenience store chain with over 2,600 outlets across the UK. It reported a turnover of €3.69 billion in 2021, according to Retail-Index.

As for the year ahead? The cost of living crisis will probably persist throughout most of 2023, and most UK retailers have already stepped up the range of promotions they offer to shoppers, particularly when it comes to private label.

The UK is renowned for being one of the most competitive European grocery markets – don't expect this to change any time soon.

About Retail-Index

Retail-Index is a specialist supplier of management information on consumer retail markets, provided by Veraart Research Group in the Netherlands. Its mission is to supply managers with up-to-date key information on retail markets in Europe and support them in their international expansion.

The company dates back to 1964, when it started as a market research and marketing consulting company for consumer products and services. In 1989, it started publishing written reports on various retail sectors in Europe. As of 2005, it publishes its information on retailers through the online database and curated datasheet exports available on A team of researchers manages the data to reflect upon current developments in the markets, collected from an extensive number of sources.

Read More: Top 10 Supermarket Retail Chains In Spain

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© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Robert McHugh. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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