UK Grocery Market Achieves 'Modest' Growth, Big Four All See Declines

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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UK Grocery Market Achieves 'Modest' Growth, Big Four All See Declines

The UK grocery market achieved 'modest' growth of 0.3% in the 12 weeks to 26 January, according to the latest data from Kantar, however the UK's 'Big Four' retailers all saw sales decline.

Grocery leader Tesco posted a market share of 27.3% for the period, having seen a 0.9% decline in sales compared to the same period last year, while second-placed Sainsbury's saw a 0.6% decline in sales to sit on 15.8%.

The dip in sales was more pronounced at Asda, which saw a 2.2% decline to sit on 14.9% market share, while Morrisons, on 10.3% market share, saw a 3.0% decline in sales.

However, as Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said, “Morrisons is bucking the trend in the overall grocery market, where fewer groceries are being purchased on deal, conducting 47% of its sales through some type of promotion during the past 12 weeks, a 1.3 percentage point increase on last year’s level.”


Once again, the discounters put in a solid performance in the period; Aldi, on 7.9% market share, saw its sales up 5.7%, while Lidl, on 5.9% share, saw a 11.1% increase in sales in the period.


“Branded items account for a small but growing part of Lidl's sales, with household favourites in cleaning and confectionery contributing to a 19% increase during the past 12 weeks," said McKevitt.

"Meanwhile, Aldi increased sales by 5.7%, growing both chilled ready meals and spirits by 12%. A key factor in the advance of the discounters has been their ability to attract additional shoppers, each welcoming more than 800,000 extra visitors through their doors in the past year, supported by strong store opening programmes.”

Positive Performance

Other positive performers included the Co-op, which saw a 2.7% increase in sales to sit on 6.0% market share, Iceland, which registered a 1.4% increase in sales and holds 2.3% market share, and Ocado, which was the strongest performer of the lot (albeit off a smaller base), with a 11.2% increase in sales. The online-only grocer now holds 1.4% of the market.

"More than half of the online retailer’s sales come from customers in London and the South of England, but its quickest growth is actually found outside of this heartland in the North of England where its sales were 17% higher than the same time last year," said McKevitt.


Grocery inflation stood at 1.0% for the 12-week period.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine

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