LONDON Feb 4 J Sainsbury was the
strongest performer amongst the top six grocers in the UK market
over the Christmas trading period, according to Kantar
Worldpanel data seen by Reuters.
Sainsbury's, which vies with Wal-Mart's Asda as the
second-biggest player behind market leader Tesco, saw
sales grow 5.2 percent year-on-year in the six weeks to Jan. 5,
increasing its UK grocery market share to 17.7 percent from 17.2
percent, data from the market researcher showed.
The data vindicates Sainsbury's outgoing chief executive
Justin King, who said in the firm's third-quarter trading
statement on Jan. 8 that he expected it to emerge as the
Christmas winner among the major grocers.
The outcome meant second place in the growth stakes for
upmarket supermarket Waitrose, the sixth biggest
operator, with growth of 4.1 percent, and third place for the
Co-Operative, the fifth-biggest, with growth of 3.1 percent.
Asda saw growth of 0.3 percent but Tesco and Morrisons
, the fourth-biggest operator, saw sales decline by 0.7
percent and 1.7 percent respectively.
Sainsbury's Jan. 8 trading update reported sales at stores
open over a year rose 0.2 percent, excluding fuel, in the 14
weeks to Jan. 4, its fiscal third quarter, with total sales up
2.7 percent. The firm did not detail sales for the key Christmas
Sainsbury's said last week that King would step down as
chief executive in July after a decade at the helm and be
succeeded by commercial director Mike Coupe.
The trend of the major grocers being hurt by discounters
Aldi and Lidl was evident in the six-week
Kantar data, with the firms seeing sales growth of 28.2 percent
and 17.1 percent respectively.