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UK Insights

Tesco and Morrisons fastest-growing supermarkets of UK big four

Fraser McKevitt

Head of Retail and Consumer Insight

Shoppers 06.03.2018 / 08:01

Spaghetti_carbonara_ready_meal

Kantar Worldpanel’s latest grocery market share figures show both enjoyed sales growth of 2.7%, while chilled ready meals soared in popularity.

The figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks to 25 February 2018, show that grocery sales have increased in value by 3.2% compared to the same time last year. This marks the 12th consecutive period in a row that total market sales have exceeded 3%, and that each of the big four retailers has seen positive growth.



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The grocery market remains in good health, spurred on by February festivities such as Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, which lend themselves to a focus on ready meals. Over the month, sales of chilled ready meals which form part of a meal deal jumped by 26% as retailers offered customers the opportunity to wine and dine at home without the fuss, while Chinese ready meals also rose by more than a quarter.

Tesco and Morrisons were neck and neck as the fastest growing of the big four – both clocking in sales growth of 2.7%. Tesco continues to perform well – more positive news following approval of its Booker acquisition last week. Despite a slight fall in market share of 0.1 percentage points, Tesco experienced particularly strong growth from its Extra superstores. The varied selection of groceries on offer at these larger stores has encouraged customers to return to fuller trolley shops, with average baskets worth £31.09 – currently, the highest value in the bricks and mortar market.      

Holding market share steady year on year at 10.6%, Morrisons has continued its run of form, entering its 16th consecutive period of growth. Its premium own-label line The Best proved particularly successful, with sales rising by 20% year on year, as cooked meats, vegetables and cakes and pastries tickled shoppers’ fancy.

Meanwhile, there are no signs of a let-up in the shift away from discounted products for Sainsbury’s: only 34.5% of sales at Sainsbury’s were on promotion during the past 12 weeks, in stark comparison to 41.9% for the rest of the big four. Overall sales growth now stands at 1.1%.    

Over the past 12 weeks, Asda attracted an additional 309,000 shoppers through its doors, helping the grocer achieve its highest sales growth since June 2014, now 2.3%. At odds with its traditionally brand-focused approach, Asda has also encouraged shoppers to choose own-label alternatives, which are up by 6.4% year on year. Less than a year since its launch, the retailers’ Farm Stores range is bought by 30% of all British households – with sales surpassing £50 million – while its premium Extra Special line increased sales by 19%.

Aldi and Lidl once again battled to be crowned the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket. Aldi pipped Lidl to the post this month as sales grew by 13.9% and 13.3% respectively. With both discounters working hard to expand their store portfolio, Aldi and Lidl also benefited from increased shopper numbers as well as growth in basket size.   

Co-op returned to growth for the first time since July 2017 with sales up 0.4%, after a period of decline following the retailer’s sale of nearly 300 stores to McColl’s. Iceland held share steady at 2.2% compared to this time last year, increasing sales by 1.3%.

There were no signs of a slowdown for Waitrose, which saw sales growth of 2.3%. The supermarket has now experienced uninterrupted sales growth since March 2009. Meanwhile, internet-only grocer Ocado increased market share by 0.1 percentage points to 1.2%.

Source : Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

Please note: Kantar Worldpanel supermarket share data has been reworked as of March 2018, effective from the release covering the 12 w/e 25 February 2018. This is part of an ongoing process to ensure we maintain the best and most accurate read of the grocery market. The change has had a marginal impact on retailer shares and reported performance; growth trends remain unaffected as historical data has been reworked for consistency. 

For reworked 12 w/e historical data please contact us.

Please note that four week ending or six week ending retailer share data should not be used in media reporting. The 12 week ending data stated in this release covers a longer time period which means it is a superior indicator of retailer performances and trends.

For all publicly-quoted Worldpanel data, users of our research (including media) must ensure that data is sourced to ‘Kantar Worldpanel’. 

An update on inflation: Grocery inflation now stands at +2.9% for the 12 week period ending 25 February 2018.  Prices have been rising since the 12 weeks to 1 January 2017, following a period of grocery price deflation which ran for 30 consecutive periods from September 2014 to December 2016.  Prices are rising fastest in markets such as butter, fresh fish and fresh pork, and are falling in only a few markets, including ambient cooking sauces and laundry detergents.

These findings are based on Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks to 25 February 2018. Kantar Worldpanel monitors the household grocery purchasing habits of 30,000 demographically representative households in Great Britain. All data discussed in the above announcement is based on the value of items being bought by these consumers.

Retailer growth figures reported by Kantar Worldpanel relate to overall take home sales, and so include the impact of store openings or closures. Like-for-like sales change is not measured or reported. Calculating like-for-like sales requires a detailed knowledge of store openings and extensions which is information held accurately only by individual retailers.

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