Customer Behaviour

Waitrose captured a record 5.3% of the UK grocery market over the past quarter, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Its sales increased by 2.1% in the 12 weeks to 22 May compared with the same period last year.

Discount chains Lidl and Aldi continued to post the highest growth, with Lidl up 14.2% and Aldi 11.4% higher.

The “big four” grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – continued to shed market share.

Overall, the grocery market was “essentially flat” in the quarter, Kantar said, with the value of sales up by just 0.1%. The figures relate to overall take-home sales and therefore reflect the impact of store openings or closures.

The Co-operative posted higher sales during the period, up 3.3%, while its market share rose from 6% to 6.2%.

Among the discounters. Aldi’s market share rose to 6.0% from 5.4% a year earlier, while Lidl’s share increased to 4.4% from 3.9%.

Sales decreased at the four biggest retailers, though the decline of 1% at Tesco was the lowest for two years. Its market share fell to 28.3% from 28.6%.

Sainsbury’s posted a similar decline in sales as its market share fell to 16.2% from 16.5%.

However, Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said customers had not abandoned the major retailers, as their combined shopper numbers had dropped by only 0.2% in the past 12 weeks.

“While the big four are struggling to keep their market share what’s clear is that consumers aren’t flocking away from their stores,” he said.

Kantar said food prices fell by 1.5% in the latest quarter, representing the 22nd consecutive period of grocery price deflation.

“Falling prices reflect the impact of Aldi and Lidl and the market’s competitive response, as well as deflation in some major categories such as pork, poultry, butter, eggs and vegetables.”

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