LONDON Jan 7 Discount grocers Aldi and Lidl said they both enjoyed record trading at Christmas, ratcheting up the pressure on Britain's so called "big four" supermarkets which are struggling for sales growth.
Though the German-owned firms did not disclose sales figures Aldi said it recorded its busiest Christmas since opening in Britain over two decades ago, while Lidl said it had seen its best performance to date over the festive period.
Aldi, which trades from over 500 UK stores, said record numbers of customers visited its stores in the run-up to Christmas.
"We had our busiest Christmas since opening in the UK (in 1990) and planned for this by doubling the size of our Christmas range, increasing stock levels and offering even more exclusive products," it said.
Lidl, which trades from 600 UK stores, said 2013 had been its most successful year in its history.
Industry data published by Kantar Worldpanel in December showed that more than half of Britain's households shopped in Aldi or Lidl in the 12 weeks to Dec. 8 as Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda, J Sainsbury and Wm Morrison continued to lose market share.
Kantar said Aldi grew its year-on-year sales by 30.7 percent in the 12 week period, while Lidl's rose 15.5 percent. Together they had a combined market share of 6 percent.
Market leader Tesco will update on the six weeks to Jan. 4 on Thursday, while Sainsbury will report third-quarter to Jan. 4 sales on Wednesday.
Tesco is forecast to report a fall in UK sales at stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, of 0.5-2.5 percent, while Sainsbury's is expected to post like-for-like sales, ex fuel but including VAT, in a range of flat to down 1 percent.
Asda said on Monday it enjoyed a good performance at Christmas both in store and online but will not release figures until Feb. 20. Morrisons will update on Jan. 20.