GB grocery market back in growth

The UK grocery market has returned to growth, with sales up 0.5% in the last 12 weeks to £26.6 billion, but flat volume sales show consumers aren’t stockpiling for Brexit, according to retail analysts Kantar.

With retailers facing tough comparables across the board brought on my last year’s heat wave, sales fell across all of the big four grocers despite the August Bank holiday boosting the performance of an otherwise disappointing summer.

Lidl, Aldi and the Coop were the big winners of the quarter, according to Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt.

Lidl reached a record high market share in the three months, up from 5.5% last year, with sales of 9.2% giving it a 6% share of the market for the first time, boosted by the 618,000 new shoppers visiting its stores.

Rival discounter Aldi also saw sales increased, rising 6.3% boosted by growth from the south of England which saw a 9% increase. Meanwhile convenience retailer Coop also saw sales up 1.8%.

Sales of sparkling wine rose 20% at Ocado, helping the online retailer increase its market share by 2 percentage points to 1.4%, with sparkling wine growth in excess of 20%.

Sales at Asda and Tesco fell by 1.0% and 1.4% respectively but Sainsbury’s saw its strongest period since October 2018, despite marginal sales decline of 0.1%. Meanwhile Morrisons market share slipped below double digits as sales fell by 2.0%.

Retail results round-up

Earlier this week, Aldi reported positive growth with total sales up 11% to £11.3billion, but its profits fell – for the fourth year – due to its continued investment in lowering prices and store expansion

Meanwhile Asda reported a significant uptick in both revenue and profits, with like for like sales up +1.6%, (exc. VAT and fuel) and operating profits up +9.2% to £803million. Online sales grew ahead of the market, it said.

However the UK’s fourth largest grocer, Morrison reported a slowdown in growth in the first six month of 2019, with group like for likes down 0.2% (in the 26 weeks to 4 August 2019). Total revenue rose +0.4% to £8.80billion. However it announced a raft of new measures, including deepening its ties with Amazon, and beginning to supply around 300 former McColl’s stores from the end of 2019.

Sales at the Co-op rose 12% to £5.4 billion, the company reported last week, as it saw the first full contribution of the newly acquired Nisa business and the strong performance of its food business, up 3% to £3.7 billion, with like-for-like of 1.7%.

Last week Waitrose’s parent group John Lewis reported a group loss of £25.9million, down from a profit of £0.8m last year, with sales at Waitrose slipping slightly to £3.4billion in the six months to 27 July. However online sales rose, up 10.7% year-on-year.

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