January 7, 2020 / 8:03 AM / 13 days ago

British supermarkets endure worst Christmas since 2014 - Nielsen

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - British supermarkets experienced the lowest growth over the key Christmas period since 2014, with sales growing by just 0.5% year-on-year in the four weeks to Dec. 28, according to industry data published on Tuesday.

Market researcher Nielsen attributed the weak growth to increased competition, price cuts and lower inflation. Its data also revealed that while consumers visited supermarkets more often over the 2019 Christmas period, shoppers purchased fewer items and spent less each time.

Nielsen said Sainsbury’s, Britain’s No. 2 grocer, was the most successful of the big four supermarket groups over the 12 week period to Dec. 28, though it still experienced a sales decline of 0.4%.

Market leader Tesco, Walmart owned Asda, the No. 3 player, and No. 4 Morrisons trailed with sales falls of 0.9%, 1.1% and 2.5% respectively.

German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to outperform and win market share from the big four. Lidl’s sales rose 12.2%, while Aldi’s were up 7.7%, giving a combined market share of 15.1%.

Rival market researcher Kantar will also publish data for the grocers’ Christmas performance on Tuesday. (Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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