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Waitrose has reported higher sales and a recovery in operating profits in its full year results to 26th January 2019.

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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
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.

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



The UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, has today (18 February) launched her annual survey, inviting suppliers to share their experiences of trading relationships with major retailers and highlight any issues they are facing.  

This year the survey – the sixth carried out by the GCA - includes Ocado and B&M, which were designated by the Competition and Markets Authority in November last year.  

Suppliers can complete the survey at It will remain open until 23 April.  

Survey key to regulatory decision making  

Christine Tacon said: “The annual survey plays a huge role in my work.  It sheds strong light on the behaviour of the retailers and tells me how well they are complying with the Code.  I use the information I receive to help identify top issues and to decide where to focus my discussions with the businesses I regulate.  

“Thanks to the large numbers of suppliers who have taken part in previous years I have been able to delve deeper into specific issues, identifying particular challenges for individual retailers to work on.

“I need all sectors and sizes of groceries suppliers to complete my survey so please take the time to fill it in, and I welcome a cross-section of views from within suppliers. I am hoping as in past years to receive more than 1,000 replies from suppliers.”    

Confidentiality assured

The independent polling company YouGov runs the survey on behalf of the GCA so suppliers can be confident the information they provide is treated in complete confidence.  YouGov collects and analyses the answers and will present the results at the GCA annual conference, which will be held on 24 June in Westminster.  Registration for the conference is now open at:

The ‘last mile’ has become an increasingly competitive place, as the food industry and disruptors continue to create solutions that make online shopping even more convenient. We know that the convenience and ease of online shopping is extremely appealing to shoppers.

We’ve identified several examples of last mile solutions that help online shoppers embrace this convenience.

Increase in unattended in-home delivery

During 2018, we saw numerous leading global retailers trialling unattended in-home delivery services.

The customer grants access to a delivery driver using smart lock technology, by setting a temporary access code for the lock, which is then sent to the delivery driver via a secure app. Refrigerated and frozen goods are put away by the delivery driver, and other groceries as instructed by the customer. A video of the whole delivery is often available.

Edeka, Waitrose & Partners and Albert Heijn all joined Walmart, Amazon, and ICA with trials in their respective markets.

There is a significant amount of trust required on the behalf of the shopper to sign up to such trials. However, if the service delivers and meets shopper expectations it is hard to see a more convenient and easy way to shop online.

There are also benefits for retailers. For example, they can optimise delivery routes to save time and fuel costs, as they will not be delivering based on predetermined hourly delivery slots.

There will be no need to compensate for late deliveries, and they may be able to process the order faster at the shopper’s home, as there will be no ‘meet and greet’ of the shopper.

It also enables them to better use delivery vehicle capacity.

Robot deliveries

Delivery by robots is another last-mile solution that retailers and disruptors are trialling, and showcasing.’s driverless delivery vehicles have been deployed in the cities of Changsha and Hohhot (inner Mongolia) in China. The unmanned vehicles can carry 30 items and deliver them within a 5km radius.

The vehicles can plan routes, avoid obstacles and recognise traffic lights. Facial recognition technology enables users to easily and securely collect their parcels. Running at full capacity, the delivery stations, operating with a half-half split between robots and couriers, can deliver up to 2,000 packages a day. See's robot in action >>

Tesco customers in Milton Keynes, UK, can now have their groceries delivered by robot.

The service from robotics company Starship Technologies, is available via a Tesco Extra in the Kingston Centre.

This follows Tesco’s trial in London with Starship during 2017, in which it tested robot delivery as part of a wider ‘Tesco Now’ one-hour delivery trial.

Starship Technologies currently also delivers hundreds of orders a week for a Co-op branch in Milton Keynes. Local customers have reacted positively. See Starship Technology's robot in action >>

Autonomous vehicles

Walmart is partnering with Udelv to test its autonomous delivery vans in Surprise, Arizona.

The pilot will see a cargo van customised to support Walmart’s grocery delivery operation.

The trial will begin in February 2019, and will initially involve human backup drivers until both companies and regulators believe it’s safe to remove the driver.

The test will build on Walmart’s existing self-driving vehicle pilots. These include a program with Ford and its delivery partner Postmates, and a similar initiative with Waymo, Google’s self-driving project.

The company behind Walmart’s ecommerce pickup towers has developed a self-driving vehicle that could revolutionise last-mile delivery.

The vehicle, called Lotte, is a robotic courier.

It can autonomously transport goods to a predesignated location, and using a robotic arm it can allegedly place goods in a pickup locker. It claims to be one of the only self-driving delivery vehicles that can complete deliveries without any human intervention. See Lotte the robot courier in action >>

Delivery by drone, China’s largest retailer, has completed Indonesia’s first government-approved drone flight – a breakthrough for drone delivery in Southeast Asia.

The successful pilot opens the door for commercial drone use in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region, subject to further regulatory approvals.

Indonesia is a challenging country for ecommerce deliveries, given the fact it’s spread out across many islands. will be able to provide more efficient, reliable services by regularly using drones. And it will help the retailer realise its goal of delivering 85% of orders on the same or next day. plans to build 150 drone launch sites in southwestern Sichuan province of China for unmanned aerial vehicle parcel deliveries. has been developing its drone capabilities since October 2015, and claims that drone deliveries would reduce the cost of shipping freight by 70%, compared to conventional truck delivery. See's drone in action >>

Wing, a drone delivery company that is part of Alphabet (Google), will start a pilot initiative around Helsinki, Finland, in the spring of 2019.

In September 2016, Wing delivered burritos to students at Virginia Tech in what was, at the time, the largest and longest drone delivery test in the US.

Food is a great test case for drone delivery technology because it can be fragile and temperature sensitive and therefore needs to be delivered quickly and carefully.

Where next?

Shoppers’ expectations are continuously increasing when it comes to getting the goods they want in a quick and easy way. So far, retailers have been able to meet and often reset these expectations with innovative delivery solutions.

We expect to see more competition amongst retailers to get goods to shoppers in more innovative and creative ways. The online channel and technological advances have created most of the solutions to meet shoppers’ desire for increased convenience. However, many retailers still face a challenge of delivering fresh produce to customers at a reasonable cost.

These pilots will help retailers to better understand the future of delivery and the role of these vehicles in a broader mix of fulfilment options.

Do you need an insight report, presentation or workshop on global trends and innovations in retail?

Toby Pickard, Head of Insight – Innovation and Futures

I head up IGD’s insights research on innovations and futures, and analyse the impact they could have on retailers, suppliers and shoppers. I regularly work with leading retailers and manufacturers to create content and insights focusing on the future of retail.

Please contact me: [email protected]

Toby Pickard

Toby Pickard

Head of Insight – Innovation and Futures

Global retail trends 2019

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‘Help me be healthy’ is one of the five trends we expect to shape and influence the global retail market in 2019 and beyond. In this report we explore the ways in which retailers and brands around the globe are inspiring shoppers to lead healthier lives.
Kantar market shares are generated using Kantar Worldpanel’s till-roll scanning methodology and extrapolated using a sample of 30,000 households. Figures are calculated over a rolling 12 week period and include VAT.
Waitrose has created a virtual shelf on its website signposting a range of goods made by B Corporation certified businesses.
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