UPDATE 1-Recovering Tesco puts pressure on rivals - Kantar

Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:16am EST

* Tesco sales up 3.3 pct in 12 weeks to Jan 20
    * Tesco market share maintained at 30.4 pct
    * Kantar says Tesco putting rivals under pressure


    LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Tesco, Britain's biggest
grocer, has maintained its market share and matched the market's
growth for the first time since June 2011, according to industry
data on Tuesday.
    Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said Tesco's sales
increased 3.3 percent in the 12 weeks to Jan. 20, giving it a
market share of 30.4 percent and putting its rivals under
pressure.
    Tesco launched a 1 billion pound ($1.57 billion) plan in
April to revive UK sales by investing in more staff, revamped
food ranges, refined marketing and smartened stores that give
more space to food.
    "These positive results are a sign of stabilisation for
Tesco as the retailer gets back on track with its customers,"
said Kantar director Edward Garner.
    "This improvement has put some pressure on the rest of the
big four, with Morrisons in particular suffering."
    Britain's No. 4 grocer Wm Morrison saw sales fall 1.7
percent and its market share decline by 0.6 percentage points.
    No. 3 player J Sainsbury achieved sales growth of
3.2 percent, but its market share ticked down 0.1 percentage
points to 16.9 percent.
    Sales at No. 2 grocer Asda rose 2.1 percent, but its
market share fell by 0.2 percentage points to 17.6 percent.
    Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons all updated on Christmas
trading this month. Tesco and Sainsbury's argued over who had
won Christmas, while Morrisons was a clear laggard.
   
    Kantar said that the discounters Aldi and Lidl strongly
outperformed the market with sales growth rates of 28.2 percent
and 10 percent respectively.
    At the premium end, Waitrose continued to perform
well, with sales growth of 8 percent echoing its record
Christmas outcome. 
    Kantar highlighted that a widening gap between overall
grocery market growth of 3.3 percent and grocery inflation of
4.9 percent is causing a squeeze on shopping budgets.
    In the last week of the 12 week period (on Jan. 15) the Food
Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in beef burger
products sold by Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland.
  
    Kantar made no comment on any impact this may have had on
sales.
    Tesco shares were up 0.2 percent at 1154 GMT, Sainsbury's
was up 0.6 percent and Morrisons was down 1.4 percent.
    
    Summary of market share and sales growth (percent)
                  12 wks to     12 wks to     pct change
                  Jan. 20 2013  Jan. 22,      in sales
                                2012          
 Tesco            30.4          30.4          3.3
 Asda             17.6          17.8          2.1
 Sainsbury        16.9          17.0          3.2
 Morrison         11.9          12.5          -1.7
 Co-operative     6.2           6.4           0.6
 Waitrose         4.6           4.4           8.0
 Aldi             3.1           2.5           28.2
 Lidl             2.7           2.6           10.0
 Iceland          2.2           2.1           9.6
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