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Britain's overall grocery market growth was slightly higher at 1.7% in the 12 weeks to January 27th than the 1.6% growth we saw over the Christmas period, according to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel.

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Britain's grocery market grew more slowly over the Christmas period as inflation softened and more people shopped at discounters, according to new data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Lower inflation impacts growth

In the 12 weeks to December 30th, market growth was 1.6%, down from 2.0% in the 12 weeks to October 7th and from 3.8% for the same period a year ago, pulled down by lower inflation. Inflation for the period was +1.3%, less than half the 3.6% rate of Christmas 2017 following investments in price by retailers to meet consumers' heightened focus on value. Despite this shoppers spent a record £29.3bn on groceries, £450m than a year ago.

Premium ranges drive growth for discounters

Once again Aldi and Lidl set the pace for the sector, with two thirds of households shopping at one or both of the discounters over the 12 week period. Aldi's growth of 10.4% is in line with the 10% growth it reported yesterday with strong sales of vegetables following the popular Kevin the Carrot marketing. At Lidl, nearly one third of December's growth came from sales of branded lines and sales of the Deluxe range jumped by one third. Together the two discounters secured a 12.8% Christmas market share, their highest ever.

Asda and Tesco strongest of Big Four

Asda narrowly beat Tesco to be the fastest growing retailer of The Big Four. Its Extra Special range was the fastest growing premium range of any major retailer.  Asda also performed strongly online with growth of 12%. Tesco meanwhile achieved growth of 0.6%, lifted by an extra 125,000 shoppers visiting its stores, particularly its larger formats. Interestingly, Kantar reports that Tesco was the only retailer to have increased its promotional activity year-on year, with its 29p festive veg packs securing its position as a destination for main Christmas meal shoppers. Tesco will report its Christmas results on Thursday Jan 10th.

Flat results for Morrisons and a decline for Tesco

Morrisons sales were essentially flat for the period though this result excludes sales through the retailer's fast growing wholesale operations. See Morrisons own results for the factors shaping its trading performance. At Sainsbury's, sales declined by 0.4% according to Kantar. The retailer will release its own results tomorrow.

Encouraging growth for Co-op

Co-op has continued its strong run of recent results, achieving 3.2% growth over Christmas. Its market share increased for the seventh consecutive period and is likely to advance further in 2019 as it pushes ahead with 100 new store openings.

 

12 weeks to 31 Dec 2017 (% share)

12 weeks to 30 Dec 2018 (% share)

Sales growth (Y-o-Y %)

Tesco 28.1 27.8 0.6
Sainsbury's 16.5 16.2 -0.4
Asda 15.3 15.2 0.7
Morrisons 10.8 10.6 0.1
Aldi 6.8 7.4 10.4
Co-op 5.8 5.9 3.2
Lidl 5.0 5.4 9.4
Waitrose & Partners 5.2 5.0 -1.7
Iceland 2.2 2.3 1.8
Ocado 1.1 1.0 1.3
Other multiples 1.6 1.7 7.3
Total symbols & independents 1.7 1.5 -6.2
       

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Christmas results coverage from IGD

Christmas results tracker - See the story of Christmas emerge through tracker, updated on every results day

Christmas 2018 and new year outlook - Our report summarising retailer performance and key trends will be released on January 16th

Christmas 2018 and new year outlook - Senior Retail Analyst Nick Gladding's video briefing of Christmas performance and trends will be available on January 23rd

Sainsbury's and Asda have lodged an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a judicial review of the Competition and Markets Authority's investigation into their proposed merger.

More time needed to assess evidence

In their application, Sainsbury's and Asda argue that the current inquiry timetable does not give them or the CMA sufficient time to consider all the evidence for such a complex case. They add that they have engaged constructively with the CMA to date and have made repeated requests for additional time.  The challenge centres on a request for an additional 11 working days over the Christmas period to respond to a large amount of material recently provided to them. Under the current timetable, the inquiry's deliberations will finish by 5 March 2019 and the final report published in early March.

CMA: Deadline at risk if extra time granted

Responding to the request for extra time the CMA said that any merger of this size requires assessment of a large volume of material in a short time frame and that it was not unusual for companies to do this in the timelines we have been working to with Sainsbury's and Asda. It added "We have done everything we can to aid their consideration of this work, whilst still ensuring we are able to meet our legally-binding deadline."

Sainsbury and Asda confident in merits of deal

In their statement Sainsbury's and Asda re-affirm their confidence in the merits of the deal and their ability to deliver the synergies previously outlined. "By bringing our two businesses together, we will invest further in range, quality and customer service, while lowering prices and reducing the cost of living for millions of UK households." they say.

Sainsbury's will publish its Q3 and Christmas trading update on January 9th.

Click here to visit the latest market shares from Kantar Worldpanel.

Co-op is the last of the major UK retailers to launch its Christmas ad.

John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners has released its much-awaited Christmas campaign ‘The Boy and the Piano’, starring Elton John. The two-minute advertisement tells the story of how one special gift can inspire and influence the course of someone’s life. Set to the iconic ‘Your Song’, the story works backwards through Elton John’s life and shows the moment he received the special gift of his grandmother’s piano.

Craig Inglis, Partner and Customer Director, said “The ad tells the story of why Elton's piano was more than just a gift and we hope to remind customers of that special moment when they've given a gift at Christmas time that they know will be treasured forever”.

As part of the Christmas campaign, customers shopping on Oxford Street, London are invited to step into the set of the ad and experience it for themselves by interacting with props, listening to recordings from Elton John’s 17-11-70 album and having photos taken at the piano.

John Lewis 2018 Christmas advert (140 seconds) by adam&eveDDB on YouTube

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s 2018 Christmas campaign launched with a two minute advertisement titled ‘The Big Night’. The advert is directed by Michael Gracey, who also directed The Greatest Showman.

With the theme of a school Christmas show, the advert follows a young girl dressed as a star wowing the audience after a nervous start, singing New Radicals’ ‘You Get What You Give’. The advert also features almost 60 children from across the country, as a host of Christmas characters, some as young as six years old.

The notion that ‘we give all we’ve got for the ones we love’ is at the heart of the retailer’s new Christmas campaign.

Sainsbury’s 2018 Christmas advert (120 seconds) by Wieden+Kennedy London on YouTube

Iceland

The launch of Iceland’s Christmas advert echoes the retailer’s commitment to sustainability initiatives.

Iceland has used a short film, titled ‘Rang-tan’, which was originally made by the environmental organisation Greenpeace, as its main Christmas campaign. The advert portrays an emotive animation, with the aim of raising awareness of rainforest destruction caused by palm oil production, and the impact this has on the critically endangered orangutan.

This year, Iceland’s advert will not appear on TV as it failed to secure advertising regulatory approval, and has been launched on YouTube instead. The advert has received over four million views on YouTube, and 15 million views on Iceland’s Facebook page, since its launch six days ago.

Earlier this year, the retailer committed to remove palm oil from its own label food by the end of 2018, and will promote the extensive range of palm oil-free products over the festive season.

Richard Walker, Managing Director, said “Throughout 2018 we have led the retail industry to take action in areas such as rainforest destruction for palm oil and plastic pollution of our oceans. This year we were keen to do something different with our much anticipated Christmas advert. The culmination of our palm oil project is offering our customers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas, and we wanted to reflect this in our advertising”.

Iceland 20198 Christmas advert (92 seconds) by Mother on YouTube

Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners has unveiled six 30-seconds Christmas adverts, which celebrate the role of food at Christmas.

Part of the ‘Too Good to Wait’ campaign, each advert delivers a light-hearted take on a number of festive scenarios, in which families and friends hurry through to get to enjoy their festive food. In the first advert, titled ‘Christmas Concert’, a pianist rushes through a speedy rendition of Jingle Bells after hearing that Heston from Waitrose Chocolate and Sour Cherry Crumble Mince Pies would be served afterwards.

During its first airing, viewers saw other television adverts fast forwarded until it came to the Waitrose & Partners advert, to tie in with the idea of ‘Too Good to Wait’.

Martin George, Customer Director, said "Looking forward to the traditions and special moments is what makes Christmas the most wonderful time of year, but there’s also another aspect that adults and children alike just can’t wait for…the food. As much as we all love our festive activities, enjoying delicious food and drink is a priority, and when it’s Waitrose & Partners food, you’ll do whatever it takes to get to it as quickly as possible”.

Waitrose 2018 Christmas advert (30 seconds) by adam&eveDDB on YouTube

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer Food launched its 2018 campaign, ‘Discover your M&S Christmas favourite’. The advert series sees more than 60 customers and colleagues discuss a range of their favourite M&S Christmas foods, with a focus on quality and taste.

The campaign comprises of 12 different unscripted adverts – three 60-second plus nine 30-second ones that focus on specific products. All of these are timed to coincide with food shopping patterns, with the last advert focusing on Christmas Day food and fresh produce.

Marks and Spencer’s Food Marketing Director, Sharry Cramond, commented “As our customers and colleagues love our food so much, we thought we would let them tell the story in their own words.  We spoke to customers and colleagues up and down the country about their favourites from our festive range, and then we simply made that the ads”.

Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation on social media by sharing their Christmas food favourites using the hashtag #MyMarksFave. A festive Percy Pig emoji will appear each time someone uses the hashtag.

M&S 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by Grey London on YouTube 

Boots

Boots has released its Christmas advert for the festive season about the bond between a mother and her daughter. The advert focuses on the mother-daughter relationship, set to the soundtrack of Robbie Williams’ ‘She’s the One’ – adapted in the advert to ‘She’s Me Mum’.

The advert celebrates the unique bond between mothers and daughters, with the tagline ‘Get them something that says you get them’.

Helen Normoyle, Marketing Director explained: “Christmas and the festive period is a perfect time to bring together friends and family. We wanted to really celebrate this special connection by focusing in on the spirit of beauty gifts showing you really understand your loved ones”.

Boots 2018 Christmas advert by Ogilvy on YouTube

Asda

Asda again became the first of the UK retailers to launch its Christmas advert, 'Bring Christmas Home'. The advert focuses on the chaos and effort that goes into bringing people together at Christmas.

The 60 second clip follows Santa and his team as they descend down a snowy mountain to make it home to celebrate Christmas with an excited young girl.

The advert also showcases a selection of products from its seasonal range. These include Asda's Extra Special Macarons, Turkey, and a selection of its George Christmas jumpers and nightwear. The retailer is also set to launch three additional 30 second clips throughout the Christmas period, showcasing more of its festive range.

Following an audition process, the advert also features some of Asda's Colleagues. Asda's Chief Customer Officer Andy Murray comments on this decision, "Our colleagues play such a vital role in bringing Christmas home for our customers, it was only right that they were part of our festive cavalcade – and Sara and Daniel have done us proud."

Asda 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by AMV BBDO on YouTube

Aldi

In Aldi's 40 second Christmas advertisement viewers see the return of Kevin the Carrot. Kevin is travelling through a snowy setting in an orange truck before an avalanche hits the vehicle, leaving Kevin hanging off a cliff and the hashtag #SaveKevin appears on screen.

The cliffhanger ending suggests that Aldi, in a similar move to last year, is set to unveil a series of adverts following Kevin's story. The full advert is set to be released later this week.

Aldi commented on Twitter, "Our parody Christmas advertising campaigns are famous for capturing the anticipation of the season. This year is no exception using our trademark sense of humour and well-loved character, #KevinTheCarrot, to capture the magic of families prepping for Christmas."

Aldi 2018 Christmas advert (40 seconds) by McCann UK on Youtube

Lidl

Lidl launched its 'Make Christmas a Lidl Special' campaign with a series of three 20 second Christmas adverts.

The adverts reveal how a shopper can upgrade their Christmas by shopping with Lidl. With a focus on driving trade up, the most recent advert showcases its premium private label Christmas turkey, designed to emphasis its quality credentials.

The series of adverts also offer a playful twist, following regrettable decisions made my shoppers at Christmas. One lady looks frustrated as a pre-ordered 16-piece orchestra dominates her dining room on Christmas day.

The retailer has extended its 'Make Christmas a Lidl Special' campaign, offering online shoppers the chance to upgrade their Christmas meal, Christmas party or festive fun on its Christmas landing page.

Lidl 2018 Christmas advert (20 seconds) by TWBA London on YouTube

Amazon

Amazon unveiled its 90 second Christmas advert which features Amazon boxes singing to The Jackson's 'Can you Feel It'.

The opening scene includes a girl decorating a gingerbread house, who then sees an Amazon box come to life. The boxes then go onto surprise and delight passers by including delivery drivers, dogs, office workers and children.

The advert places the joy of Christmas at the heart of the campaign, whilst also encouraging shoppers to shop online this Christmas.

Amazon 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by Lucky Generals and Director Fredrik Bond on YouTube

Tesco

Tesco launched its 2018 Christmas campaign, 'However you do Christmas, everyone's welcome at Tesco', with the first in a series of TV adverts.

The campaign builds on last year's offer, focusing on diversity and celebrating the different rituals and routines that people associate with Christmas.

Allessandra Bellini, Tesco Chief Customer Officer, commented on the campaign, "We want our customer to know that however they do Christmas, and no matter what they need, Tesco can help".

Tesco 2018 Christmas advert (60 seconds) by BBH London on YouTube

Morrisons

Morrisons unveiled its 2018 Christmas advertisement which focuses on key moments of the seasonal period, providing a festive family feel.

The advertisement upholds a food focus, showcasing festive products from its Market Street concept and highlighting its quality credentials in fresh.

Morrisons Christmas advert on YouTube by Publicis London  

Co-op

Co-op is the last of the major UK retailers to launch its Christmas campaign, ‘Christmas is better together’. The advertisement launched on December 1st.

In a similar move to last year, the advertisement focuses on bringing communities together at Christmas.

It sees a group of friends discussing when Christmas really starts for them, whilst showcasing products from Coops private label festive food collection.

Co-op 2018 Christmas advert (30seconds) by Forever Beta on YouTube

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