The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 week to 29 January, show that the UK food and grocery sector sustained a solid rate of growth into the first month of 2017, with overall sales up 1.7% in the period. However, with the Kantar measure of inflation accelerating to +0.7%, it is now clear that rising prices are once again contributing to sector growth. Along with the upward pressure caused by weak Sterling, in the short term inflation is also being compounded by factors such as the weather-related disruption to fresh produce supply.
12 weeks to 31 Jan 2016 (% share)
12 weeks to 29 Jan 2017 (% share)
Sales growth (Y-o-Y %)
|Total symbols & independents
Source: Kantar Worldpanel
Aldi overtakes Co-op in share rankings
Having sustained growth in double digits consistently over the last three years, Aldi has been progressively gaining market share. Having surpassed Waitrose in early 2015, the discounter's 12.4% uplift over this latest period has pushed its share to a record 6.2%, ahead of the Co-op on 6.0%. This now establishes Aldi as the fifth largest grocery retailer in the UK market, and given its ongoing rate of growth versus that of the Co-op, it seems unlikely to relinquish this position going forward.
Tesco's growth falters and Asda heads towards recovery
Following an improved showing in the period up to, and over, Christmas, the performance of Tesco has clearly taken a backward step in January, with its growth slipping once more behind the market average to just +0.3%. Allowing for the impact of inflation could mean that volume-wise Tesco was again running negative. Meanwhile, though clearly still in negative territory, the decline at Asda has once more slowed in this latest period, improving from -2.4% in the 12 weeks to 1 January to -1.9% in the 12 weeks to 29 January. Though its market share is still falling, Kantar data shows that Asda shopper numbers have increased over 2016, offering promise for further improvement in the coming months.
Morrisons leads the 'big four'
Successfully sustaining its Christmas growth into January, Morrisons was the only one of the leading four supermarkets to beat the market average for the period, pushing it ahead of all of its three key competitors for the first time in some while. Amongst the other players Lidl in particular seems to have enjoyed a pick-up in growth once more, accelerating to +9.4%, after successive months when its progress moderated sharply.
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