Morrisons returns to market share growth as sales outpace big four rivals again

Morrisons has made its first market share gains since December 2011 and seen the largest sales increase among the big four supermarkets for the second month in a row as its strategy to “listen to customers” continues to pay off.

Lady pushing a shopping cart in the supermarket.

Morrisons sales increased by 0.6% in the 12 weeks to 21 June, ahead of the wider market which saw a decrease of 0.1% compared to a year ago. That was enough for the supermarket to increase its market share by 0.1 percentage points to 11% as it benefitted from an increase in online shopping.

“While only a small increase against a weak 2014, this does represent the first market share gains made my Morrisons since December 2011,” Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt.

Morrisons has made a number of customer-focused changes in store including reintroducing manned express checkouts. Earlier this month is also cut the price of a further 200 “everyday items” by up to a third, including bread and four pints of milk.

Chief executive David Potts said the cuts would mean prices for “cupboard essentials will be among the lowest on the market”.

Rivals have also been cutting prices, with the Co-op announcing a new round of price drops and Sainsbury’s lowering the price of one and two pints of milk to the same price as Aldi and Lidl.

Overall grocery prices are now 1.7% cheaper compared with a year ago, according to Kantar Worldpanel. However the analyst house says the rate of decline is slowing and it predicts that they will be increasing again by the end of the year.

kantar June 2015

That will be music to the ears of the big four, which have struggled in the face of competition from the discounters. Sales at both Tesco and Sainsbury’s fell by 1.3% for the period meaning their market shares dropped to 28.6% and 16.5% respectively.

The situation was worse at Asda where sales were down by 3.5% leaving the supermarket with a 16.5% share, down from 17.1% a year ago. Aldi and Lidl continue to steal share with their sales up 15.4% and 9.1% respectively.

Aldi’s market share reached a new high of 5.5% while Lidl’s rose to 3.9%. Waitrose also saw sales grow ahead of the market, up 1.2% to give it 5.1% share.

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