GB grocery market: return to growth

Date : 17 September 2019

The grocery market returned to growth in the 12 weeks to September 8th with sales at +0.5% according to Kantar. Following a challenging summer, the warmer weather over the August bank holiday helped to boost sales. We look at the results in more detail including the impressive performances from Co-op and Ocado.

Stand-out performance from Co-op

Co-op saw excellent growth in this period with sales up 1.8%, compared to 0.2% in the previous 12 weeks. This follows on from the recently released strong interim results with sales increasing 12% to £5.4bn. The growth reflected the full contribution of the Nisa business and continued positive performance of the Food business. Total Food sales grew by 3% to £3.7bn and like-for-like sales grew 1.7%. This marked 22 consecutive quarters of growth for the Food division. 

Ocado continues to be the strongest performer

Ocado was once again the fastest growing retailer at 12.7%. The retailer has released the first set of results from the joint venture between Ocado Group and M&S for the 13 weeks to September 1st. In this period Ocado Retail revenue reached £386.3m and the company saw growth of 11.4%. The positive results were driven by more frequent orders.

Sainsbury's most resilient of the Big Four

Sainsbury’s saw its best performance since October 2018 with sales at -0.1%. This made it the most resilient of the Big Four for the second 12 week period in a row.

In latest Sainsbury's news the retailer has pledged to half plastic packaging by 2025. To meet this ambitious goal it will launch a programme to accelerate change which will include switching to alternative materials, using lighter-weight plastics and introducing refillable packaging at scale.

Sainsbury's has also ended its till-free trial this month, concluding that not all of its customers were ready for it. It has also launched a Disney Heroes card promo with the hope of repeating the success of its two highly popular Lego cards promotions, to engage shoppers with young children.

Lidl reaches record high market share

Lidl reached a new market share high, at 6% this period. It has taken just over two years for the retailer to move one full percentage point, coming from 5% in May 2017. This is worth £1.2bn annually. The positive results have been driven by new store openings.

Aldi's strong performance continues

Aldi increased sales by 6.3%, with the strongest growth coming from the South of England, where sales increased by nearly 9%. This follows on from Aldi announcing strong results for FY18 for the 12 months to December 31st, with sales growth of 11%.

Aldi has set out its expansion plans to reach 1,200 stores in the UK by 2025. Expansion will be focused on London, where the retailer has its smallest market share, of 3.3%. It plans to open 55 new stores within the M25 by 2025. 40 of these will be in the new Local format. Aldi Local stores are around half the size of its standard format and have a reduced SKU count from 1,800 to 1,500.

For subscribers looking for more insight, check out our Aldi Local store visit report and see how the retailer is flexing its standard format to suit the London market. 

Detailed results

Retailer 12 weeks to 9th Sept 2018 12 weeks to 8th Sept 2019 Sales growth (Y-O-Y%)
Tesco 27.4% 26.9% -1.4%
Sainsbury's 15.4% 15.3% -0.1%
Asda 15.3% 15.1% -1.0%
Morrisons 10.2% 9.9% -2.0%
Aldi 7.6% 8.1% 6.3%
Co-op 6.6% 6.6% 1.8%
Lidl 5.5% 6.0% 9.2%
Waitrose 5.1% 5.0% -1.3%
Iceland 2.1% 2.1% -2.0%
Ocado 1.2% 1.4% 12.7%
Other Multiples 1.8% 1.9% 7.1%
Symbols & Independents 1.7% 1.7% 0.5%



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