Aldi and Lidl soar in first three months despite late Easter
GERMAN discounter Aldi had its best month ever in the UK at a time when most other food and drink retailers (including the big four supermarket companies and independent stores)struggled to maintain sales due to the lateness of Easter and the effects of aggressive price promotions.
According to market analysis by Kantar Wordpanel, in the 12 weeks ending 30 March Aldi sales grew by 35.3%, to take it to its highest ever market share of 4.6%. Lidl fared almost as well, up 17.2% to take 3.4% of the grocery market.
It means that the combined share taken by the two discounters of Kantar’s total till roll (the value of all the goods that its panel members take into their homes) has reached 8%.
As in recent editions of the Kantar analysis, the John Lewis group’s premium food and drink supermarket chain Waitrose was the other winner, growing by 4.5% and holding on to its 5% market share.
The figures show what appears to be a dramatic slowdown across the grocery sector in Britain, with growth of only 0.6%, which is behind food price inflation and therefore represents a real-terms decline in sales.
But that was partly down to the distortion caused by the difference in timings from year to year of Easter, which fell in the first quarter of the year in 2013 but will appear in the next set of figures for this year. Kantar estimates that Easter accounts for market growth of 0.9%, which would give a “corrected” figure of 1.5% sales growth for total grocery. That is still low by historical standards.
As the Kantar figures use a consumer panel, and measure the value of products taken into consumers’ homes, the share taken by symbols and independents is often shown as lower than some other sources. However after a number of good months in late 2013 and early 2014, the sales attributed to symbols and independents were down this time (by 2.1%).
The major multiples took another pasting, with sales at Morrisons down 3.8% and Tesco down 3%. With Sainsbury’s dropping 1.7%, the only supermarket that managed to keep its drop in sales to less than 1% was Asda, which saw a fall of 0.5%.
Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Amid a challenging market backdrop, individual retailer growth might be expected to be restricted. This is certainly not the case for Aldi. And Lidl also experienced strong growth in a record-breaking month.”
“All of the big four supermarkets have faced declining sales over the past 12 weeks, which has been accentuated by the late Easter. Nevertheless, they have also seen worrying share declines, with the most resilient performance coming from Asda.”