Discounters keep growing in UK

Discount retailers Aldi and Lidl marked a strong start of the new year
Discounters keep growing in UK

Sales at British mid-range supermarkets declined further in the first three months of 2014, while discount retailers Aldi and Lidl marked a strong start of the new year. Sales at Aldi increased 35.3% in January-March 2014 compared with the same period last year, according to the latest market data by Kantar Worldpanel. Lidl was also way ahead than its competitors, with sales at +17% on last year. As discounters improved their performance, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison – commonly identified as ‘the big four’ retailers, which hold the largest share of the British market – recorded a further slowdown in sales.

Asda and Sainsbury’s saw their till roll decline 0.5% and 1.7%, respectively, while Tesco and Morrison had losses of 3% or more. Sales at premium retailer Waitrose rose 4.5%.

“All of the ‘big four’ supermarkets have faced declining sales over the past 12 weeks, which has been accentuated by the late falling of Easter. Nevertheless, they have also seen worrying [market] share declines, with the most resilient performance coming from Asda this period,” commented Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel.

“Waitrose continues to hold on to its record 5.0% share (of the UK grocery retail market it reached late last year), while The Co-operative appears to have stemmed its share losses, managing to hold its current 6.1% share over our past four reports. Frozen food outlet Farmfoods is performing well, reaching a record share of 0.8%.”

The latest data appears to confirm the trend analyst had identified for most of 2013 – discounters (Aldi, Lidl but also Iceland) experiencing relentless sales growth, as customers progressively desert mid-range retailers in search for convenience and offers. At the other end of the line, premium supermarkets are also marking meaningful, albeit less accentuated, growth.

by Davide Ghilotti

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