Tesco Top Performer Among U.K. Grocers; Germans Gain Market Share, Survey Show

Tesco was the top performer among the big four U.K. supermarkets in the three months including the Christmas period, but major local grocers continued to lose market share to German competitors, surveys from Kantar Worldpanel and Nielsen showed Tuesday.

The average U.K. household spent a record 1,054 pounds ($1,429) in the 12 weeks to Dec. 31, despite tightening budgets and economic worries, Kantar said.

"Overall supermarket sales increased in value by 3.8%, with an additional GBP1 billion ringing through the tills compared to the same festive period last year. Shoppers parted with GBP747 million on 22 December alone, making the Friday before Christmas the busiest shopping day ever recorded," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.

Sales at Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN), the U.K.'s No. 1 grocer by market share, grew by 3.1% in the 12 weeks ended Dec. 31, the fastest pace it has recorded since June. However, its market share fell by 0.2 percentage points year on year to 28% in the period.

At the other end of the scale, German retailers Aldi and Lidl both increased sales by 16.8% in the three months to Dec. 31. Aldi's market share rose to 6.8% from 6.0%, while Lidl's increased to 5.0% from 4.4%, Kantar said. The combined market share of the two German supermarkets stood at 11.8%, up from 10.4% a year earlier, attracting nearly one million additional households during the period, Kantar added.

J Sainsbury PLC's (SBRY.LN) market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 16.4%, despite sales growing 2% in the period, Kantar reported.

Asda, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), saw its market share decline to 15.3% from 15.5%, with sales up 2.2% in the three months to Dec. 31. Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC's (MRW.LN) market share fell to 10.7% from 10.9%, although sales rose 2.1%.

The market share of up-market retailer Waitrose, a division of John Lewis Partnership PLC, stood at 5.2% in the 12 weeks ended Dec. 31, as sales increased by 2.3% in, Kantar said.

Kantar monitors the household grocery purchasing habits of 30,000 demographically representative households in the U.K.

Separately, a survey by Nielsen Homescan also showed Aldi and Lidl growing market share. For the 12 weeks ended Dec. 30, Aldi's market share rose to 7.5% from 6.9% for the comparable period ended Dec. 31, 2016, while Lidl's rose to 4.9% from 4.4%.

According to Nielsen, Tesco recorded the largest sales of the big four U.K. supermarkets in their busiest period of the year and had the most improved performance over the final 12 weeks of 2017.

However, Tesco's market share has dropped to 27.5% in the 12 weeks ended Dec. 30, unchanged from the comparable period a year earlier, while Sainsbury's fell to 15.5% from 15.8%, Asda fell to 14.2% from 14.4% and Morrisons fell to 10.2% from 10.4%, Nielsan data showed.

Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayudvaello@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 09, 2018 04:55 ET (09:55 GMT)