The UK's 'Big Four' supermarkets all maintained double-digit sales growth in the 12 weeks to 12 July, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest market share data from Kantar.
Market leader Tesco (26.7% market share) posted 15.1% growth in the period, with second-placed Sainsbury's (14.9% share) seeing 13.5% growth and Asda (14.1% share) seeing 11.0% growth.
Morrisons put in the best sales performance of the UK's main retailers, seeing 17.4% growth to sit on 10.3% market share.
According to Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, the past four weeks have seen promotional activity pick up at the UK's main supermarkets, with 29% of sales subject to some kind of discount.
“Retailers scaled back promotions at the start of lockdown as they prioritised serving as many customers as possible and keeping shelves full," he said. "Now, they are putting the emphasis back on deals and collectively helped the average household save £45 on groceries this month.
"Promotional levels are still behind the pre-crisis level of 31%, but, particularly given that the 2008 recession led to shoppers seeking out more discounts, we expect the grocers to bring in more enticing offers to attract cash-strapped shoppers in the months ahead."
Best Of The Rest
Online only operator Ocado was the stand-out performer in terms of sales growth, reporting a 45.5% increase in sales, albeit off a low base – the retailer holds 1.7% of the market.
As McKevitt explained, while restrictions have eased, more than one in five households still made an order online in the last four weeks.
"The channel now accounts for 13.0% of all grocery sales in Great Britain, which is up from 7.4% in March and reflects a significant increase in capacity by the grocers," he said.
"Ocado's sales rose by 45.5% during the past 12 weeks, benefiting from its loyal customer base increasing their shopping frequency by a third compared with last year."
Of the main bricks and mortar retailers, frozen foods retailer Iceland (2.5% market share) put in the strongest sales performance in the period, seeing its sales grow by 34.1%, while The Co-operative (7.2% market share) saw sales up 30.6%, helped by its wide proximity store network.
Lidl (5.9% share) was the best performing of the discounters, seeing its sales up 17.3%, while Aldi (7.8% share) saw sales grow by 13.0% in the period.
Summing up the latest findings, McKevitt said, “As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased and non-essential retail outlets re-open, some consumers are slowly resuming their pre-COVID routines and shopping habits.
"This meant year-on-year supermarket sales growth decelerated in the most recent four weeks to 14.6%, down from 18.9% in June. However, we are clearly a long way off a complete return to normality."
Grocery inflation stood at 3.6% 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: The European Supermarket Magazine