Festive food up but giants fall

Waitrose, shop, convenience store,
Waitrose was the big winner among mainstream grocery multiples over Christmas according to Kantar Worldpanel. While Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons were all down on the previous festive season Waitrose sales were up 6.6%.

SHOPPERS spent a bit more on groceries over Christmas 2014 than in 2013, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. But, as was often the case through much of last year, it looks as if discounters Aldi and Lidl benefited most, with up-market brand Waitrose also doing well, while the giant supermarkets watched sales fall.
Kantar Worldpanel also found that sales at independent and symbol stores were down. But as it measures predominantly take-home purchases it doesn’t capture the often quite substantial sales of products for out-of-home and on-the-go consumption that can go through independents.
Kantar’s figures for the 12 weeks ending 4 January 2015 showed that increased consumer spending over Christmas helped the grocery market grow at its fastest rate since August 2014 – sales were up 0.6% on the previous year.
But just about all of the growth came from Aldi (up 22.6%), Lidl (up 15.1%), and Waitrose (up 6.6%).
Tesco was down in the Kantar figures by 1.2%. Asda dropped 1.6%. Sainsbury’s was down 0.7%. Morrison’s was down 1.6% and The Co-operative dropped 2.4%.
Kantar measured sales through symbol stores and independents as down 2.6%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Shoppers were the big winners at Christmas with cheaper grocery prices encouraging them to spend more at the tills.
“Like-for-like prices have fallen by 0.9% due to lower commodity costs and an ongoing price war which has continued as the large retailers battle for market share.”
Kantar said there is now a gap of just 0.5% sales growth separating the four largest retailers and that such a tightly fought race is unprecedented in records dating back to 1994.