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UK’s discount stores continue to make merry

More than half of Britain’s households shopped in discount grocers Aldi or Lidl over the past 12 weeks as the country’s “big four” supermarkets continued to lose market share, monthly data show.

Some 50.1 per cent of British households stepped into one of the discounters in the 12 weeks to December 8, up from 46.1 per cent in the same period a year ago, market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said.

Aldi now boasts a record 4 per cent of Britain’s grocery market, having increased its share nearly every 12-week period since the end of 2010. Lidl retained its record share of 3.1 per cent that it reached in the summer.

“Both Aldi and Lidl have continued to record double-digit, year-on-year sales, growth and are successfully broadening their shopper base,” Kantar director Chris Longbottom said.

“Value continues to be a powerful incentive for the British shopper, a fact that is further highlighted by Farmfoods which, while still a relatively small player in the market, has grown its sales by 36.6 percent compared with last year.”

Of the big four grocers J Sainsbury, battling with Wal-Mart’s Asda to be Britain’s second largest grocer, was the best performer, though its year-on-year sales growth of 1.8 percent was insufficient to match the overall market growth of 2.8 percent. Market leader Tesco posted sales growth of 0.4 percent, Asda 0.6 percent and Wm Morrison, the No. 4 player, 0.8 percent.

Tesco’s outcome will add to concerns over the effectiveness of a turnaround plan that has seen over £1 billion (Dh6 billion) invested in its home market.

Earlier this month, Tesco reported a 1.3 percent fall in the third quarter underlying UK sales. Upmarket grocer Waitrose, the No. 6 player, continued to do well with sales growth of 6.7 percent.

The Co-Operative, the No. 5, whose parent has just secured a financial rescue deal for its banking arm, saw sales fall 0.7 percent. Kantar said grocery inflation was 3.0 percent for the 12-week period, the lowest level for a year.


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