GB market grows amidst Brexit concerns

Date : 05 March 2019

The overall growth of the UK grocery market was 1.9% in the 12 weeks up to February 24th, according to the latest data from the Kantar Worldpanel. This was a slight increase of +0.2 percentage points on January, reflecting a nudge upwards in both inflation and volume. 

Brexit: despite growing concern shoppers are not stockpiling

Brexit remains a key issue. Shoppers are worried about its impact but currently only a minority currently say they are modifying their behaviours because of it. Only 3% of ShopperVista shoppers have started stockpiling*. This is a slight increase on the 1% who said they were in August 2018, but the numbers remain small and are not significant enough to affect retailers growth.

Shoppervista subscribers can read more in our Brexit and savvy shopping in 2019 deck.

Valentine's day: boosting February's sales

Valentine's day is a key retail event in the first half of the year, centred around treats following a health focused January. We are increasingly seeing shoppers dine in and meal deals for two continue to be a popular promotional mechanic in February. Shoppers' perceptions are changing regarding discounters and seasonal events. 10% of people brought treats such as chocolate, steak or wine from Aldi in the Valentine's day week.

We explore the three key themes further in our Valentine's 2019 research.

Discounters: still gaining market share

The discounters continue to perform well with both Aldi and Lidl taking market share. Aldi was the only retailer to see double digit sales growth of 10%, a further increase on its 9.1% growth in January.

Lidl's results however were surprisingly disappointing, with growth of 5.4%, compared to 7.3% in January. Retail Analysis subscribers can see the latest format innovation and how Lidl 2.0 is showcasing fresh and appealing to families in our Lidl Dunstable retail execution.

Ocado and M&S: growth in Ocado's sales

Waitrose saw growth, of 1%, which was its highest since August 2018. Watch out for our coverage of its full year results this Thursday. We are continuing to see partnerships reshape the UK retailing landscape with the announcement of the joint venture between Ocado Retail and M&S. After this sales at Ocado rose by 3.4%, whilst it maintained its market share of 1.2%.

Subscribers can read more here in our deck; Ocado Retail and M&S.

Other retailers: mixed results

There were contrasting performances among the larger retailers. Tesco had a positive month, with growth improving to 1.3% from 1.0% in January. The higher growth suggests its trading is no longer being impacted by disruption caused by range changes in the run-up to Christmas.

As in January, Co-op's performance remains strong with growth of 3.6%. This was driven by an increase in footfall of 244,000 over the month.

There were diverging trends for potential merger partners Sainsbury's and Asda. While the sales decline at Sainsbury's worsened to -1% from -0.3% in January. Asda achieved 1% growth continuing an uninterrupted trend since April 2017. Following a highly critical provisional report from the Competition and Mergers Authority both retailers now await a final ruling from the competition watchdog on or before April 30th.Asda. While the sales decline at Sainsbury's worsened to -1% from -0.3% in January. Asda achieved 1% growth continuing an uninterrupted trend since April 2017. Following a highly critical provisional report from the Competition and Mergers Authority both retailers now await a final ruling from the competition watchdog on or before April 30th.

  12 weeks to 25th February 2018 12 weeks to 24th February 2019 Sales growth
(Y-O-Y%) 
Tesco 27.9 27.7 1.3%
Sainsbury's 16.2 15.7 -1.0%
Asda 15.6 15.5 1.0%
Morrisons 10.6 10.5 0.8%
Aldi 7.0 7.6 10.0%
Co-op 5.8 5.9 3.6%
Lidl 5.1 5.2 5.4%
Waitrose 5.2 5.2 1.0%
Iceland 2.2 2.2 1.7%
Ocado 1.2 1.2 3.4%
Other Multiples 1.7 1.8 7.1%
Symbols & Independents 1.7 1.6 -2.3%

*1,000+ shoppers in Jan '19

Look out for our coverage of Morrisons full year results coming in mid March.

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