'˜The Best' range provides boost for Morrisons

BRADFORD-based supermarket chain Morrisons' has delivered a rise in year on year sales, after its performance was boosted by the success of its '˜The Best' range, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Fraser McKevitt of Kantar Worldpanel
Fraser McKevitt of Kantar Worldpanel

The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks ending July 16 2017, show market growth has exceeded 3 per cent for the fourth consecutive period – the first time since November 2013.

Supermarket sales increased by 3.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Robust market growth this year has been boosted by higher grocery inflation, but consumers will be pleased to hear that price rises are no longer accelerating.

“Like-for-like inflation now stands at 3.2 per cent, the same rate of increase as this time last month. One year on from the EU referendum – which had a marked impact on the price of imported groceries – hard-pressed shoppers could soon start to feel upward pricing pressures ease.

“June’s hot spell was good news for UK grocers, with sales particularly buoyant around the hottest June day for 40 years.

“Ice cream sales were up 34 per cent in June alone, while sales of suncare products increased by 40 per cent year on year as Brits enjoyed the unexpected sunshine. Over the 12 week period, celebratory shoppers spent an additional £158 million on alcohol. Fruit and vegetable sales also spiked – up 7 per cent – as shoppers parted with an extra £170 million to help offset the summer indulgence.”

The success story continues for own label, with sales up 6.7 per cent year on year: supermarkets’ own brand lines now account for just over 51 per cent of spending – a record high.

Mr McKevitt continued: “While private label’s strong performance is partly down to consumers’ undying love for a bargain, it’s actually the pricier premium own label lines which are leading the way: up 13.9 per cent compared with this time last year. In contrast brands are seeing considerably slower growth, up by just 0.9 per cent year on year.”

Lidl was once again Britain’s fastest growing supermarket, increasing sales by 19.4 per cent – its strongest growth since October 2014.

Its market share has in turn risen to a record high of 5.1 per cent. Close behind, Aldi’s sales grew by 17.9 per cent, increasing its share of the market by 0.8 percentage points to 7.0 per cent.

Elsewhere competition was tight as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons saw sales increases of 2.3%, 2.2% and 2.1% respectively.

The fastest-growing of the big four retailers, Tesco continued to perform well in its larger stores and also saw momentum buoyed by a particularly strong performance online.

Mr McKevitt said: “Tesco clearly sees its online business as a crucial component of its ongoing recovery, evidenced by its move into nationwide same day grocery delivery ahead of the competition. It remains to be seen if this investment will pay off – while it has the largest share of online sales Tesco overall is still losing market share, down 0.5 percentage points to 27.8 per cent over the past 12 weeks.

“Sainsbury’s benefited similarly from strong online custom, while its smaller Local convenience stores also contributed to the retailer’s 2.2 per cent sales increase. After leading the move towards fewer multibuy promotions in 2016, Sainsbury’s is now aiming to further simplify its pricing by reducing price cut deals.

“This approach means that only 36 per cent of the grocer’s products are currently sold on promotion, compared to an average of 42 per cent across its big four rivals.”

Meanwhile Morrisons saw sales up 2.1 per cent year on year, with the success of its ‘The Best’ range helping to increase premium own label sales by 13 per cent.

Growing for the fourth consecutive period, Asda attracted an additional 398,000 new shoppers to increase sales by 1.0 per cent year on year.

The retailer’s ‘Farm Stores’ meat and produce lines, which launched in April 2017, are now finding their way into just over a quarter of Asda’s baskets, generating sales of over £58 million.

Iceland’s market share remained static year on year at 2.1 per cent, with sales increasing by 5.7 per cent, while Waitrose and Co-op saw sales growth of 2.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. Online specialist Ocado grew sales by 11.7 per cent, holding its overall market share stable at 1.3 per cent.