February 11, 2014 / 12:45 PM / 4 years ago

Sainsbury's and UK discounters shrug off tough market-Kantar

LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - British supermarkets Sainsbury's
and Waitrose and increasingly popular discount chains Aldi and
Lidl increased their market share over the past 12 weeks in the
face of an overall grocery market growing at its slowest rate
since 2005.
    Retailers have said that shoppers are keeping a tight grip
on finances even as signs of an improving economy in Britain
    Of Britain's "big-four" grocers, J Sainsbury,
battling with Wal-Mart's Asda to be the UK's No.2
grocer, was the best performer in the 12 weeks to Feb. 2, market
researcher Kantar Worldpanel said on Tuesday.
    The grocer recorded sales growth of 2.7 percent on a year
ago, increasing its market share from 17.0 to 17.1 percent.
    A 0.5 percent rise in sales for Asda failed to match the
overall market growth of 2.4 percent but was ahead of market
leader Tesco and No.4 players Wm Morrison who
saw sales declines of 0.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively,
and both lost market share.
    "Mike Coupe, who will be taking over from Sainsbury's
current CEO Justin King in July, will be inheriting the retailer
in good shape as it continues to be the fastest growing of the
big four - an unbroken run that stretches back nearly two
years," Kantar analyst Fraser McKevitt said.
    Upmarket grocer Waitrose, the No. 6 player, grew
sales by 5.6 percent.
    Adding to a tough market for Britain's biggest grocers is an
increasing number of shoppers choosing discount rivals such as
Aldi and Lidl, both of which posted
double digit sales growth in the period and increased their
market share.
    Together the two chains now account for 7.3 percent of
sales, up 1.3 percentage points from last year.
    Kantar said grocery inflation was 2.1 percent for the
period, the lowest level since July 2010, which offered some
respite for hard-pressed household budgets.
    Market share and sales growth (percent)
                  12 wks to     12 wks to     pct change
                  Feb 2, 2014   Feb 3, 2013   in sales
 Tesco            29.2          30.0           -0.4
 Asda             17.3          17.7            0.5
 Sainsbury        17.1          17.0            2.7
 Morrison         11.3          11.8           -2.5
 Co-operative      6.1           6.2            0.3
 Waitrose          4.9           4.8            5.6
 Aldi              4.1           3.2           32.0
 Lidl              3.2           2.8           17.2
 Iceland           2.3           2.2            3.1
 Farmfoods         0.7           0.5           43.9

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