Lidl and Aldi the UK's fastest growing supermarkets

Lidl and Aldi the UK's fastest growing supermarkets

It was a strong end to the year for grocery retailers as shoppers spent nearly £500m more on groceries this December than the last one, and for Tesco in particular who saw the largest sales growth of the Big Four in the final quarter. "Shoppers parted with GBP747 million on December 22 alone, making the Friday before Christmas the busiest shopping day ever recorded", said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel. Sainsbury's share dipped slightly, going from 15.8 per cent to 15.5 per cent.

Britons spent £1 billion more than a year ago over the three months including Christmas, with the average household spending a record £1,054 on groceries. According to Kantar, the fact that Christmas Day fell on a Monday this year helped boost Tesco Express, as larger supermarkets were forced to comply with restricted Sunday opening hours.

"It was in stark contrast to many high street retailers who saw less footfall and sales declines".

The other members of the Big 4 - Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - all saw gains of about 2% as overall sales for the sector rose 3.8% to £28.9bn compared to a year ago.

"For most of the year, location tends to be the most important factor in choosing where to shop, but over Christmas customers are actually prepared to travel further in search of specific festive products or better value". Alcohol sales grew by 5.1% year on year, with spirits leading the charge: up 7.6% as consumers favoured festive tipples featuring gin and whisky.

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Kantar Worldpanel's latest data also indicated that grocery inflation saw like-for-like prices rise by 3.7 per cent. "As a result, shoppers spread the pressure of buying their last minute fresh goods over a whole weekend, easing the strain both on them and on supermarkets' supply chains". "Only 36 per cent of spending was on items on offer this year - the lowest level of promotional activity at Christmas since 2009", McKevitt said.

The latest United Kingdom grocery market share figures published Tuesday by Kantar Worldpanel showed consumers spending GBP1 billion more than a year ago in the Christmas festive period.

"Rising to the challenge, Aldi and Lidl collectively managed to attract almost one million additional households during the past three months", he added. And across both physical and online sales, shoppers spent more than £1bn more than they did during the previous year's festive season.

Ocado comfortably outpaced the online grocery market, increasing sales by 8.4 per cent to account for 1.3 per cent of the grocery market - a 0.1 per cent uptick.

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