Discounters’ Xmas sales buck historic trend

Discounters Aldi and Lidl have bucked the historic trend that traditionally saw them lose sales at Christmas as shoppers trade up, to maintain strong growth during the festive season, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel data.

Aldi outperforms market at Christmas

Aldi and Lidl reported the strongest growth rate, 30.1 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively, in the three months to 23 December thanks to premium festive ranges at discount prices. Iceland reached a 12-year record market share as shoppers looked to stretch budgets over the festive season.

At the premium end of the market Waitrose achieved 5.4% growth.

Tesco’s performance towards the end of the year showed improvement on the rest of the year as its 0.1 per cent slide in market share to 30.5 was better than the 0.4 per cent average dip throughout 2012.

Sainsbury’s was the only one of the big four to increase its share compared with last year.

Meanwhile, Morrisons’ woes continue as the supermarket’s market share fell to 12 per cent in the 12 weeks to 23 December, from 12.4 per cent a year ago. Sales growth fell 0.6 per cent compared to growth of 3.2 per cent across the supermarket sector.

The supermarket yesterday (7 January) reported a 2 per cent fall in sales over the festive period and restructured its marketing team to improve communications.

Kantar Worldpanel director Ed Garner says: “Historically, the discounter sector has seen its share dip at Christmas as shoppers treat themselves and trade up, but the all-time record share of 3.2 per cent for Aldi is a sign of the times and shows that this is no longer the case. 

“The well-publicised under-performance of Morrisons continues and it is the only big four supermarket to lose sales compared with last year.  This highlights its need to address the lack of convenience outlets and an online offering in 2013, as already clearly identified by the retailer.”

Kantar Worldpanel claims that while 47 per cent of shoppers reduced their spend over the fetive period, 48 per cent increased spend continuing the “two nations” polarisation of the market.

The retail research firm predicts a renewed period of pressure on household budgets following a sharp increase in its measure of grocery price inflation to 4.5 per cent, from 3.5 per cent.

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