Grocery sales in the final ‘golden quarter’ of 2019 managed to hit record levels, according to the latest Kantar data, however, there was little cheer for retailers over the Christmas period as festive sales growth slowed to its lowest level since 2015.
In the 12 weeks to 29 December, Kantar reported that supermarket sales rose 0.2% year-on-year (YOY) to £29.3bn, with the trend of the ‘big four’ grocers losing ground the German discounters continuing apace.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said that there had been “no sign of a post-election rush” that many had hoped would boost sales over the Christmas period, with customers instead cutting back on festive indulgences.
Sales of Christmas puddings fell 16% YOY while seasonal biscuits were down 11%. Turkey sales also dipped 1% as consumers opted for smaller and cheaper cuts such as crowns instead of whole birds.
UK punters were also popping fewer corks this year, with sparkling wine sales down 8%, although beer and still wine sales rose 1% and 2% respectively.
Tesco retains top spot but discounters continue rapid growth
In terms of market share, Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) retained its top spot as the UK’s biggest supermarket in the final quarter of the 2010s with a market share of 27.4%, although this was down 1.5% YOY, J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) was in second place with a 0.7% YOY decline to 16%.
The German discounters, meanwhile, continued their ascendency, with Lidl reporting the largest YOY increase in market share for a brick and mortar grocer of 10.3% to 5.9% while Aldi rose 5.9% to 7.8%.
“At the end of the decade, it’s worth remembering just how quickly Lidl and Aldi have grown. Their current combined market share of 13.7% is more than treble what they held in December 2009, an unprecedented increase over the course of ten years”, McKevitt said.
Elsewhere, the Co-op and Iceland saw their market share increased 3% YOY to 6.1% and 1.3% to 2.3% respectively, while Waitrose fell 0.9% to 5%.
Shares in Tesco were 0.4% higher at 255p in early deals on Tuesday, with Sainsbury’s up 1.7% at 230.4p, Morrisons 2.7% higher at 197.6p, and Ocado up 0.9% to 1,283.5p.