Morrisons achieves strongest sales performance of ‘big four’ grocers

Morrisons' chief executive David Potts  Photo: Morrisons/PA Wire
Morrisons' chief executive David Potts Photo: Morrisons/PA Wire
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BRADFORD-based Morrisons has achieved the strongest sales performance of the big four grocers, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

The grocery market share figures from Kantar, published today for the 12 weeks ending June 18 2017, show a marked turnaround for the sector.

Supermarket sales growth accelerated to 5.0 per cent – the strongest increase since March 2012 and a stark contrast to the 0.2 per cent decline seen this time last year, despite the political and economic uncertainty of recent weeks.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The market’s robust performance this period is partly down to particularly weak sales growth last year and a continuing increase in like-for-like grocery inflation, which is now running at 3.2 per cent.

“At this rate, that’s an extra £133 on the average household’s annual shopping bill, or the equivalent of seven additional shopping trips a year.

“Butter and fish fans will be feeling price increases most keenly; butter is almost 20 per cent more expensive than last year while farmed salmon supply issues have been among the factors contributing to a 14 per cent price rise across fresh and tinned fish. However, it’s not only inflation which is bolstering market growth.

“Recent spates of hot weather have given an early boost to traditional summer categories including ice cream and cider, with respective increases of 12 per cent and 16 per cent adding £58 million in sales, and that’s not including the most recent heatwave.”

It’s been another positive period for the individual retailers. Tesco sales grew by 3.5 per cent, its fastest rate since April 2012.

Mr McKevitt continued: “Tesco has attracted a further 369,000 shoppers and increased sales across all channels, rising fastest online and through its Extra stores. Despite being in growth for most of the past 12 months its market share now stands at 27.8 per cent down 0.4 percentage points since June 2016.”

Morrisons achieved the strongest sales performance of the big four grocers.

The retailer increased sales by 3.7 per cent, posting growth for the seventh consecutive period despite market share slipping back by 0.2 percentage points to 10.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s impressive growth online and in its Local convenience stores – particularly in London – helped increase sales by 3.1 per cent.

Leeds-based Asda’s recent recovery continues.

Mr McKevitt said: “Asda is the only retailer where branded products are outpacing own label lines – significant for the grocer given it sells a greater proportion of brands than many of its rivals. That isn’t to say Asda’s own label offer is struggling – its Extra Special premium line and recently launched Farm Stores range contributed to a 1.4 per cent increase in private label sales.

“Overall sales rose by 2.2 per cent, although its market share fell half a percentage point year-on-year to 15.1 per cent.

“Lidl has pipped Aldi to the title of the UK’s fastest growing supermarket for the first time since March, with sales growth of 18.8 per cent just ahead of the latter’s 18.7 per cent.

“Both retailers continue to gain market share – combined, the two have gained 1.4 percentage points since June 2016 and now hold 5.0 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively.”

Co-op has seen continuous growth for a full two years, up 2.2 per cent in the latest period alone.

Meanwhile, Iceland, which is up 7.4 per cent, has successfully posted 15 periods of increasing sales.

Waitrose had its best sales growth since March 2012, growing marginally ahead of the market at 5.3 per cent, although its share has remained flat at 5.2 per cent.

Amazon’s potential purchase of Whole Foods has brought renewed focus to online shopping, which now accounts for 7.6 per cent of grocery sales and is growing by more than 10 per cent each year.

Kantar said: “The retail giant will be keen to increase its share of the grocery sector, where it currently holds less than 1 per cent of online sales. Its online rival Ocado now has an overall market share of 1.3 per cent, with sales up 10.7 per cent compared with this time last year.”