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As part of its ongoing strategy of improving the experience it offers shoppers, Lidl is investing in different payment solutions across countries in Europe. These include scan and go and self-checkouts.

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We are frequently seeing discounters Aldi and Lidl evolve their store concepts to meet the changing needs of shoppers. This week we have seen Aldi UK trial its first self-service checkouts and Lidl Ireland pioneer in-store recycling.

Aldi launches self-service checkouts

Aldi has launched self-service checkouts in its Glascote store in Tamworth, according to Retail Gazette. Although this is standard amongst the Big Four retailers and Aldi's main competitor Lidl, has them in 150 of its 740 UK stores, this is a first for Aldi. The retailer hopes the checkouts will improve the shopping experience, making it quicker and simpler. Aldi will make a decision on whether this should be rolled out to other stores based on the success of this trial. 

For subscribers, take a look at our store visit report of Aldi Glascote. The store is used as a testbed for the new initiatives and concepts before they are considered for roll-out across the country. It demonstrates other exciting new features that point towards a more sophisticated and efficiency-focused strategy to future-proof the business. 

Aldi is continuously innovating. We recently saw it open the first Aldi 'Local' banner. This store has been created to improve the shopper experience in cities.

Lidl Ireland launches in-store recycling

Lidl Ireland has become the first Irish retailer to offer shoppers in-store recycling stations to reduce packaging waste bought in-store. Shoppers can dispose of unwanted paper and plastic packaging in stations placed at the end of checkouts. This began as a trial in three stores and has been so successful Lidl is rolling it out to all its 160 stores in Ireland.

Plastic continues to be an area where retailers are frequently launching new initiatives to try and reduce waste. Aldi recently launched a trial to go plastic-free on five fruit and vegetable lines in Scotland. Tesco has also started a plastic-free fresh produce trial.

Discount continues to evolve

We are increasingly seeing discounters evolving, trialling new initiatives and store concepts across Europe. Aldi, Lidl, Norma and Eurospin have all looked to evolve with different concepts to target new shoppers and expand their reach;

  • Lidl opened its smallest store in Germany in February. At 503 sq m it is less than half of the traditional size of a Lidl store and offers 80% of the standard range. This is part of the retailers strategy to secure space near city centres. Plans are to open four more of these in 2019 in Munich
  • German discounter Norma is building larger stores and increasing its range. It will be adding around 160 SKUs to its existing range, mainly in chilled and fresh. The retailer is looking to emulate Aldi and Lidl's newest store formats
  • Italian Eurospin is also trialling a larger format. There will be greater space dedicated to fresh, including a butchery and bakery

Sign-up here to receive our free newsletter that will keep you up-to-date about the latest news and developments from discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Growth slowed to 1.4% in the 12 weeks to 24th March, according to Kantar. This makes it the slowest growth rate since March 2018. Inflation edged up from 1.4% to 1.5% causing implied volumes to dip into negative territory. We look at the results in more detail.

Seasonal changes impact growth

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit challenges have mainly come for retailers from changes to the timing of seasonal events. Retailers have been impacted by Easter being much later in 2019, falling on the 19th April, compared to the 1st April in 2018. Mothers Day also fell outside this period on 31st March, compared to 11th March in 2018. This impacts the Big Four in particular, who rely more heavily on these events to boost to trading.

Asda becomes the second largest retailer

Asda has overtaken Sainsbury's and become the retailer with the second largest market share, at 15.4%, compared to Sainsbury's at 15.3%. Asda sales continue to grow, albeit at a marginal rate of 0.1%. However this is positive, especially when compared to Sainsbury's whose sales were down -1.8% year-on-year.

However, these results do not show the full picture. Sainsbury's is still ahead of Asda in terms of total sales. The sales measured by Kantar only cover food and grocery, but not Argos and Habitat.

Helping to drive Asda's recovery is the retailer's success in reaching more quality seeking shoppers, with investments in fresh produce and its own brand offer broadening its appeal to more affluent demographics. To see how Asda is transforming the in-store experience, check back soon on our Asda hub to see our store visit report to newly remodelled Asda Patchway.

Divergent promotional trends at Waitrose and Tesco

Waitrose saw its strongest growth since August 2018, at 1.3%. This was driven by the retailer reducing its promotional activity and focusing more on full price sales.

Waitrose's scaling back of promotions contrasts with Tesco whose deal penetration reached 40.1% in Kantar's data.  Overall however promotions in the grocery market are at the lowest they have been in a decade.

Tesco full year results will be reported on our Tesco hub on April 10th.

Fastest growth from discounters

The discounters seem to be unaffected by the seasonal date changes and growth remains strong. Particularly for Aldi which was the fastest growing retailer at 10.6%, reaching a record market share of 8%.

This period saw Aldi launch a new banner, Aldi 'Local'. The retailer has said this is not a move into the convenience sector. As expansion in city centres and particularly London, is often difficult for discounters, innovation in small formats gives them more opportunity to grow presence in these areas and target shoppers on different missions.

Lidl also continues to grow, as the second fastest retailer, at 5.8%. This was a 0.4pp increase on the 12 weeks up to February 24th.

This means the two discounters’ overall market share is now 13.6%.

Co-op and Ocado launch new online services

Growth at Co-op, at 3.9% and Ocado at 5.5% remains strong, despite disruption caused by the recent fire at its Andover CFC. We have recently seen both retailers look to move into online 'top-up' shopping.

Co-op has launched its first online delivery service. It is initially available to shoppers within a 2.5 mile radius of a Co-op store on the Kings Road in Chelsea, with plans to be rolled out to a further eight stores in London, and if successful, the rest of the UK.

Ocado has launched a new one hour delivery service called Ocado Zoom which is available in selected postcodes in West London.

Other retailers

  • Morrisons growth has stagnated, with sales down -0.1%. This is the first time it has had negative results since December 2016. The retailer has been attracting more shoppers however, has seen a decline in basket size and Kantar's numbers do not include Morrisons fast growing sales through wholesale partners, including McColl's and Amazon. Read our new strategic outlook for Morrisons to find out more about its recent annual results plans for 2019.
  • Iceland saw sales growth of 0.6%, maintaining its market share of 2.1%.


12 weeks to
25th March 2018

12 weeks to
24th March 2019

Sales growth

Tesco 27.6 27.4 0.5%
Sainsbury's 15.8 15.3 -1.8%
Asda 15.6 15.4 0.1%
Morrisons 10.4 10.3 -0.1%
Aldi 7.3 8.0 10.6%
Co-op 6.0 6.1 3.9%
Lidl 5.3 5.6 5.8%
Waitrose 5.0 5.0 1.3%
Iceland 2.1 2.1 0.6%
Ocado 1.2 1.3 5.5%
Other Multiples 1.8 1.8 2.7%
Symbols & Independents 1.7 1.7 0.6%




IGD Tesco Business Update 2019

8 May, London

Dave Lewis and his leadership team invite you to a crucial supplier event to help you stay close to Tesco’s strategic vision in its centenary year.

Find out more »

The discounter opened its first convenience-style store at its Arlington headquarters in Washington. It’s called Lidl Express and is the smallest store ever opened by the retailer, globally.

Emphasis on food-to-go in 100 sq m

The 100 sq m store, opened on the 26 March on the ground floor of the discounter’s US headquarters. It is open to the public but is primarily aimed at providing the head office’s employees with the discounter’s products.

It offers a selection of food-to-go solutions, including fresh bakery products and coffee. The store also has a range of grocery items for quick shopping, such as fresh produce and wine. There is no plan to build other Express stores, but this shows how adaptative Lidl can be in terms of formats development.

Lidl US expansion and new chairman

In March 2019, Lidl US appointed Roman Heini as its new chairman. Heini was Aldi UK’s joint managing director from 2010 to 2014. This is the latest strategic recruitment after the appointment, as CEO, of Johannes Fieber, former Lidl Sweden CEO.

Lidl’s expansion in the US has been slower than expected, since it entered the market in 2017. The objective of 100 store openings in the first year has not been met and stores’ size have had to be reduced to meet shoppers’ expectations. To accelerate its development plans, Lidl acquired 27 Best Market stores in the end of 2018.

Lidl currently operates 67 stores (although this does not include the 27 Best Market stores) on the East Coast, with stores having an average size of 2,000 sq m.

For subscribers wanting to know more about Lidl, please have a look at our Strategic Outlook for 2019.


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