UK Top Four Grocers Sales Continue to Rise Despite Losing Market Share

By Ian Walker Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.K.'s big four grocers have increased sales for the fifth consecutive period, their longest run since 2013 and despite losing market share to German retailers Aldi and Lidl, according to a survey Tuesday.

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Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) sales are up 3% for the 12 weeks ended Aug. 13, while sales at J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) rose 2%. Asda, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), has increased sales 1.4%, while Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.LN) sales climbed 2.6%, Kantar Worldpanel said. Kantar monitors the household grocery purchasing habits of 25,000 demographically representative U.K. households.

At the other end of the scale, Aldi increased sales 17%, while Lidl's have risen 19%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retailer and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said the big four grocers now account for just 69.3% of the U.K. grocery market--down from 76.3% five years ago--and that looks set to fall further in the coming months.

Tesco's market share has fallen to 27.8% in the latest 12 weeks, from 28.1% for the comparable period ended Aug. 14, 2016, while Sainsbury's market share has fallen to 15.8%, from 16.1%.

Asda's market share slipped to 15.3%, from 15.7% for the comparable 12 weeks, and Wm Morrison Supermarkets' share dropped to 10.4%, from 10.6%.

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The market share of up-market retailer Waitrose was unchanged at 5.1% in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 13.

Aldi's market share has risen to 7.0% in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 13, compared with 6.2% a year earlier, while Lidl's share rose to 5.2%, from 4.5% in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 14, 2016, Kantar Worldpanel said.

Separately, a survey by Nielsen Homescan shows that Aldi's market share has risen to 8% in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 12, from 7.3% in the comparable period ended Aug. 13, 2016, while Lidl's has risen to 5.3%, from 4.5%. Nielsen measures buying habits through its 15,000-household geo-demographically balanced panel. Aldi's sales rose 13% in the 12 weeks, while Lidl's rose 11%.

According to Nielsen, Tesco's market share has dropped to 27.5% in the 12 weeks ended Aug. 12, from 27.7% for the comparable period ended Aug. 13, 2016, Sainsbury's fell to 14.9%, from 15.2%, Asda fell to 13.7%, from 14.1% and Morrisons fell to 9.9% from 10.1%.

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 22, 2017 04:16 ET (08:16 GMT)