Sunny Bank Holiday lifts supermarket sales, says Kantar

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar show year-on-year supermarket sales returned to growth during the past 12 weeks as Brexit uncertainty continues.

While overall sales grew 0.5%, volume sales remained flat. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “As we move closer to 31 October, it seems all the talk about stockpiling might be just that because we’re not seeing any evidence. In fact, households bought 0.9% fewer items during the past 12 weeks than last year.”

The August Bank Holiday brought some overdue sunshine.  “All summer, retailers have faced tough comparisons with last year’s heatwave and disappointing weather has made it hard to match the highs of 2018. The forecast for August Bank Holiday was more than welcome and shoppers made the most of it being the hottest one on record, spending £1.3 billion from Friday to Sunday, marginally more than last year.”

Tesco and Sainsbury’s became the latest retailers to make high-profile announcements about reducing plastic packaging.  Fraser McKevitt said: “The plastic issue isn’t going away and the public continues to put pressure on brands to make meaningful changes.  It’s clear there is still work to be done because, despite the various pledges, only 16% of people can name a retailer doing ‘a lot’ to reduce its plastic waste.  Worse still, only 10% can name a grocery brand making significant strides.”

Lidl reached a new record high market share, crossing the 6% market share line for the first time, and an additional 618,000 shoppers visited the retailer compared with last year, helped by store openings, refurbishments and its newspaper voucher deals.  Having moved through the 5% barrier as recently as May 2017, the retailer has taken just over two years to add another percentage point to its market share, worth £1.2 billion annually

Aldi increased sales 6.3%with its strongest growth from the south of England where sales increased nearly 9%. The discounter’s lowest market share continues to be in London, where it only accounts for 3.3% of grocery sales, so, said Fraser McKevitt,  “it’s unsurprising it has announced plans to more than double its number of stores within the M25.”

The other bricks-and-mortar retailer in growth this period was Co-op, increasing sales by 1.8%. One third of British households made a trip to the convenience retailer during the past three months, visiting nearly twice a week on average.

Ocado was again the fastest growing retailer. Fraser McKevitt said: “With one year to go until Ocado starts selling M&S products alongside its own lines and national brands, sales at Ocado were up by 12.7%, with Ice cream, cheese and sparkling wine all experiencing growth of over 20%.”

This was Sainsbury’s strongest period since last October. It was the best performing of the big four retailers for the second month in a row, despite marginal sales decline of 0.1%. Sainsbury’s increased its rate of sales on promotion faster than any other retailer with its Price Lockdown strategy lowering prices on meat and fresh produce in particular.

Sales at Asda and Tesco fell by 1.0% and 1.4% respectively, but as Fraser McKevitt said, “There were bright spots for Tesco including sales of free-from products, up 11%, and own value lines like Redmere Farms and Creamfields as sales of these ranges totalled over a third of a billion pounds.”

Morrisons’ market share dipped below double digits at 9.9% as sales fell by 2.0%.  Waitrose sales declined by 1.3% and Iceland by 2.0%, taking market shares to 5.0% and 2.1% respectively.