Morrisons is fastest growing large retailer, says Kantar

Yorkshire supermarket Morrisons is the fastest growing large retailer.
Yorkshire supermarket Morrisons is the fastest growing large retailer.
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Morrisons was the fastest growing large UK supermarket over the last quarter, according to new industry data.

Supermarket sales have increased in value by 3.1 per cent compared with last year, according to the latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks to October 8 2017.

Morrisons' chief executive David Potts  Photo : Morrisons/PA Wire

Morrisons' chief executive David Potts Photo : Morrisons/PA Wire

This marks the 17th period of growth in a row for Britain’s grocers.

Kantar said: “Like-for-like grocery inflation remains at 3.2 per cent but consumers could be welcoming a slowdown in price rises in the new year, with the rate projected to fall below 2 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

“Recent stories about the poultry supply chain have not materially dented chicken sales; fresh poultry sales have remained flat in the month of September, while chilled processed poultry has increased in value by 6 per cent.

“Meanwhile, Christmas has already started in the supermarket aisles. £69 million of chocolate confectionary boxes were sold in the last four weeks – a near threefold increase on sales in August; mince pies reached sales of £4 million and the British public spent £1.1 million on Christmas puddings.”

The results paint a mixed picture for the major retailers – each of the big four has grown sales but seen a decrease in market share as smaller operators continue to entice new customers through their doors.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explained: “Morrisons was the fastest growing of the large supermarkets this period, increasing sales by 2.8 per cent.

“The biggest wins came from ambient and fresh food products with cakes and pastries and fruit both up by 10 per cent. Growing sales at Morrisons’ bricks and mortar stores were supplemented by rapid expansion on its e-commerce platform, particularly in London and the south where online sales have risen 29 per cent. Despite the growth, however, the retailer’s overall market share fell by 0.1 percentage points to 10.3 per cent.”

Closely following Morrisons, the remaining big four have each continued to increase sales every month since April. At Tesco, sales grew by 2.1 per cent though share was down 0.3 percentage points to 27.9 per cent. Asda meanwhile has sustained its recent recovery, with sales up 1.8 per cent in the past 12 weeks.

Mr McKevitt explained: “Despite traditionally selling a higher proportion of brands than its major rivals it is own-label sales which are driving the growth at Asda. They now account for 45 per cent of sales, with Asda’s value-focused Farm Stores line and premium Extra Special range leading the charge.”

Sales at Sainsbury’s increased 1.9 per cent on last year while market share now stands at 15.8 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points. Only 35 per cent of Sainsbury’s sales are now through price-cut deals, down sharply from nearly 40 per cent a year ago as part of the retailer’s ongoing programme of scaling back the overall level of promotions, Kantar said.

Mr McKevitt added: “Aldi and Lidl collectively added an additional £390 million in sales this quarter, which accounts for half of the entire market’s overall growth this period.”

Lidl remains Britain’s fastest growing supermarket, up by 16.0 per cent, while Aldi grew by 13.4 per cent. Share increased for both retailers by 0.6 percentage points, up to 5.2 per cent of the market for Lidl and 6.8 per cent for Aldi.