Lidl leads UK supermarket sector with 11% Christmas sales rise

Lidl's logos are seen on the exterior of its new Scottish distribution centre as it commences operations in Motherwell, Scotland, Britain October 9, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LONDON (Reuters) - Lidl GB, the British arm of the German discount supermarket group, said its total sales rose 11% in the four weeks to Dec. 29, confirming it as the UK’s fastest growing stores-based grocer.

The company, the UK’s seventh biggest supermarket chain with a market share of 6%, said on Friday that strong sales of beers, wines and spirits as well as higher demand for general merchandise boosted its performance.

Without giving a figure, Lidl said sales measured on a like-for-like basis were positive.

Trading updates and industry data this week showed Britain's big four supermarket group's - market leader Tesco TSCO.L, Sainsbury's SBRY.L, Walmart WMT.N owned Asda and Morrisons MRW.L - all struggled for sales growth over Christmas as shoppers carefully watched their budgets.

But Lidl, part of Germany’s Schwarz retail group, and fellow German-owned discounter Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] continued to thrive, driven in part by aggressive store opening programmes.

Lidl GB, which currently trades from about 790 stores, is targeting 1,000 by the end of 2023. It is investing 1.45 billion pounds over the 2019-20 period.

On Monday, Aldi UK reported total sales rose 7.9% in the four weeks to Dec. 24, with like-for-like sales positive.

Reporting by Sarah Young and James Davey