Discounters grab record share of grocery market

Lidl and Aldi continue to pressure the 'big four'. Picture: Greg Macvean

Lidl and Aldi continue to pressure the 'big four'. Picture: Greg Macvean

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Budget chains Aldi and Lidl have taken a record slice of the UK’s grocery market as they continue to pile the pressure on the “big four” retailers.

Data from researcher Kantar Worldpanel shows that sales at Aldi jumped by 16.6 per cent during the 12 weeks to 19 July, while fellow German discounter Lidl grew by 11.3 per cent.

Aldi now commands a 5.6 per cent share of the UK’s grocery spending, up from 4.8 per cent a year ago, with Lidl growing from 3.6 per cent to 4 per cent.

Their expansion was in sharp contrast to Asda, which saw its takings fall by 2.7 per cent compared with the same period last year. The US-owned chain has now been pushed into second place by Sainsbury’s.

Like-for-like sales at Sainsbury’s dipped by 0.3 per cent, but its market share of 16.5 per cent is a shade higher than Asda’s 16.4 per cent.

The overall grocery market expanded by 0.8 per cent, with the mutual Co-operative chain returning to growth for the first time since July 2014 by registering a 1 per cent rise in sales.

Fraser McKevitt, head of consumer and retail insight at Kantar, said: “The Manchester-based grocer’s focus on its convenience offer has been rewarded with an increase in shopper numbers, which have risen by 133,000. While the Co-operative’s growth is slightly ahead of the market, its overall share of 6.3 per cent has remained the same as last year.”

McKevitt said fierce competition in the sector means a basket of shopping is now 1.6 per cent lower than a year ago, although prices are expected to start rising again by early next year.

Among the major supermarkets, Morrisons turned in the best performance, even though its sales dipped 0.1 per cent, while market leader Tesco was down 0.6 per cent.

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