UPDATE 2-Britons not stockpiling ahead of Brexit - Kantar

    * No evidence consumers building up stocks
    * Sainsbury's shows smallest sales decline of big four
    * Discounters Aldi and Lidl win market share from big four

 (Recasts with Kantar comments)
    LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - There is no evidence that
Britons worried about the possibility of a disorderly departure
from the European Union on Oct. 31 are stockpiling essential
products, market researcher Kantar said on Tuesday.
    It said that while overall UK grocery sales grew 0.5% during
the 12 weeks to Sept. 8 compared to the same period last year on
a value basis, households had bought 0.9% fewer items.    
    "As we move closer to 31 October, it seems talk about
stockpiling might be just that, because we’re not seeing any
evidence of it at the moment," Kantar said.
    In contrast to consumers, supermarket groups have built up
stocks of ambient goods, such as toilet rolls, tinned tomatoes
and olive oil.
    Kantar's data showed Sainsbury's recorded the
smallest sales decline of Britain's big four supermarket groups
in the latest 12-week period, indicating a tentative recovery
after a prolonged period of underperformance.
    Kantar said Sainsbury's sales fell 0.1% in the 12 weeks to
Sept. 8. That compared with falls of 1.4%, 1% and 2% at market
leader Tesco, Asda and Morrisons
    "This was Sainsbury’s strongest period since October 2018
and it was the best performing of the big four retailers for the
second month in a row," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and
consumer insight at Kantar.
    Sainsbury's had its proposed 7.3 billion pound takeover of
Walmart-owned Asda blocked by Britain's competition regulator in
April. It is due to update on strategy on Sept. 25 when it hosts
investors at a capital markets day.
    All of the big four still lost market share to German-owned
discounters Aldi and Lidl, who continue to aggressively open new
stores. Their combined share now stands at 14.1%.
    Shares in Sainsbury's were down 2.7% at 1047 GMT, while
Tesco was down 1.3% and Morrisons was down 2.7%.
    Aldi said on Monday it planned to invest 1 billion pounds
into Britain over the next two years despite reporting a 26%
drop in operating profit for 2018.
 Market share and sales growth (percent)
                 12 wks to      12 wks to      % change
                 Sept. 8, 2019  Sept. 9, 2018  in sales
 Tesco           26.9           27.4           -1.4
 Sainsbury's     15.3           15.4           -0.1
 Asda            15.1           15.3           -1.0
 Morrisons       9.9            10.2           -2.0
 Aldi            8.1            7.6            6.3
 Co-operative    6.6            6.6            1.8
 Lidl            6.0            5.5            9.2
 Waitrose        5.0            5.1            -1.3
 Iceland         2.1            2.1            -2.0
 Ocado           1.4            1.2            12.7
 Source: Kantar

 (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle and Ed