Grocery market reaches two-year growth milestone in UK
Supermarket sales have risen for 25 consecutive periods and now stand at 2.1% compared with this time last year, with a decline last recorded in June 2016.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “After a couple of difficult years for the supermarkets this sustained period of growth is welcome news.
“The latest figures largely pre-date the soaring temperatures and new-found optimism for England’s World Cup chances but with the nation spending over half a billion more in supermarkets this period compared with last year, it suggests that summer has already arrived for many".
“Shoppers have already splashed out 6% more on spirits, and gin sales alone have increased by £38 million and 1.7 million litres, while soft drinks are up 7%.
“Consumers are also feeling some seasonal downsides – sales of hay fever remedies are up by 19% year-on-year and have been bought by 5.7 million households, reflecting Met Office predictions of record pollen levels".
Among the big four supermarkets, Morrisons was again the fastest growing, posting a sales increase of 1.9% – narrowly behind the overall market. Fraser McKevitt continues: “Consumers have responded very well to Morrisons’ wonky fruit and vegetable lines – these have more than tripled in sales and now feature in 12% of baskets, helping the retailer’s cheapest tier of own label products grow by a remarkable 18%.
“The retailer was also helped by double digit growth in online sales, though its overall share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 10.6%".
“Potential partners Asda and Sainsbury’s have recorded quite different performances over the past 12 weeks. More than a quarter of a million new customers have helped Asda increase sales by 1.8% – its 16-period run of growth is the longest the retailer has achieved since March 2014.
“In contrast, Sainsbury’s sales fell by 0.2%. The grocer sold an extra £60 million of goods on promotion this year and while this helped attract 159,000 new customers - and the retailer simultaneously delivered a strong online performance - Sainsbury’s overall share fell by 0.4 percentage points to 15.6%".
Sales grew by 1.4% at Tesco with the strongest performance in its Express convenience stores, though overall the retailer’s market share decreased to 27.7% from 27.9% a year ago.
Meanwhile, Co-op recorded its strongest growth in over a year as sales grew by 2.4%, and its market share grew by 0.1 percentage points to 6.2%. Iceland has held its share in the market, of 2.2%, as sales grew by 2.5%.
While overseas deals have buoyed Ocado’s share price, the UK delivery business has also nudged up its grocery market share by 0.1 percentage points – its sales growth of 10.1% makes it the fastest growing UK supermarket.
Commenting on the discounters, Fraser McKevitt says, “Lidl’s 10.0% sales growth makes it the only bricks and mortar retailer to experience double digital growth, and as a major sponsor of England’s World Cup squad it will be hoping to see the team’s success so far translate into even higher growth in July.
Its growing range of branded goods will play a role here – they’re already up 33% in sales and should help attract an increasingly diverse range of customers through the door.
Yet while Lidl is the champion in terms of growth this period, it is Aldi that has edged up to a new record high market share – it now stands at 7.4% thanks to sales growth of 8.2%".
Waitrose sales have risen by only 0.1%, however this does mean the John Lewis-owned retailer has grown continually since March 2009 – an unbroken run of success that is only bettered in length by Aldi and Lidl. ■