Aldi usurps Co-op to become UK’s fifth-biggest grocer

Latest industry data shows Aldi now has a 6.2% slice of the overall market. Picture: Michael Gillen
Latest industry data shows Aldi now has a 6.2% slice of the overall market. Picture: Michael Gillen
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Britain’s supermarket pecking order has been shaken up after Aldi usurped the Co-operative to become the nation’s fifth-largest grocer.

German-owned Aldi’s sales rose 12.4 per cent year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 29 January, taking its market share to 6.2 per cent, ahead of the Co-op at 6 per cent, data from Kantar Worldpanel revealed.

The past quarter has seen Aldi attract 826,000 more shoppers

Fraser McKevitt

The “big four” players – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – as well as the Co-op with its hundreds of mainly smaller stores, have faced intense competition from “hard discounters” such as Aldi and its German rival Lidl. The latest industry data showed sales at Lidl had risen 9.4 per cent, year-on-year, taking its market share to 4.5 per cent.

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Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Just a decade ago Aldi was the UK’s tenth largest food retailer, accounting for less than 2 per cent of the grocery market.

“Since then the grocer has grown rapidly, climbing the rankings by an impressive five places to hold a 6.2 per cent market share.

“Underpinned by an extensive programme of store openings, the past quarter has seen Aldi attract 826,000 more shoppers than during the same period last year.”

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Market share figures from rival consultancy Nielsen also has Aldi in fifth place, at 7.2 per cent, significantly ahead of the Co-op at 4.7 per cent and Waitrose with 4.5 per cent, having moved ahead of them both in late 2014.

Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive Matthew Barnes said: “Aldi customers get products of comparable quality to the leading brands at prices that are significantly cheaper than any of our competitors.

“This unique offering is resonating with British shoppers and we are opening 70 new stores this year to help keep up with customer demand.”

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Co-op retail chief executive Steve Murrells said: “Our strategy is delivering strong results as we continue to focus on our core convenience business, with the right stores in the right location with the right range.”

Supermarket sales overall were up 1.7 per cent on last year, with eight of the nine major retailers seeing growth over the quarter. However, Kantar said supply issues affecting fresh produce over the last few weeks had impacted sales.

Morrisons was the fastest-growing retailer within the big four, increasing its market share for the first time since June 2015 with a sales increase of 1.9 per cent year-on-year, helped mainly by customer demand for its premium own label range.

Tesco grew for the fifth period in a row – albeit at a slower rate than previously – with sales up 0.3 per cent, resulting in a dip in market share to 28.1 per cent.

Sainsbury’s sales remained flat, while Asda suffered a 1.9 per cent fall but managed to increase the number of shoppers visiting its stores compared to the same period last year.

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