Festive cheer at Sainsbury’s as sales leap

Sainsbury's is the only winner among the 'big four' supermarkets as the discounters surge. Picture: Contributed

Sainsbury's is the only winner among the 'big four' supermarkets as the discounters surge. Picture: Contributed

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SAINSBURY’S is tipped to grab top spot among the “big four” supermarket chains this Christmas after being the only one to boost its sales performance during the past 12 weeks, industry data yesterday revealed.

The grocery giant has shown greater resilience in recent months to the onslaught of German discounters Aldi and Lidl than its chief rivals Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Fresh figures from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel shows the chain, whose Christmas advertising campaign features popular children’s book character Mog the Cat, saw its sales rise 1.2 per cent in the 12 weeks to 6 December while growing its market share to 16.7 per cent from 16.5 per cent a year earlier. Tesco – Britain’s biggest retailer – suffered further trading woes as its sales dropped 3.4 per cent in the period, according to Kantar, while its market share fell to 28 per cent from 29.1 per cent a year earlier.

Embattled Asda and Morrisons were also hit by falling sales – down 3.4 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

Walmart-owned Asda has lost its position as the UK’s second biggest supermarket operator in recent months, having been overtaken by a resurgent Sainsbury’s. Asda’s market share stood at 16.2 per cent in the 12-week period, down from 16.7 per cent a year ago, while Morrisons also saw its share dip, to 11 per cent from 11.2 per cent.

Figures also out for the same period from Nielsen confirm a similar picture, with sales down 3.1 per cent at Tesco, 4.3 per cent at Asda and 2.1 per cent at Morrisons, while Sainsbury’s enjoyed a 0.5 per cent increase.

Both Kantar and Nielsen said there was little benefit from Black Friday, with the supermarket sector being hit by falling food and drink prices as a price war continues to rage on.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said Sainsbury’s was benefiting from strong shopper demand for its Taste the Difference range, with sales of champagne and sparkling wine up by a quarter. It has also been boosted by its well-received “Mog’s Christmas Calamity” advert.

Aldi and Lidl once again saw double-digit sales growth, up 15.4 per cent and 17.9 per cent, according to Kantar.

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