Aldi’s back on top with chilled

Aldi storefront in Manchester

ALDI has reclaimed the throne of fastest-growing retailer in the UK, with a large chunk of the discounter’s success coming from its chilled offer.

The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show Aldi enjoyed growth of 15.1% for the 12 weeks to 3 December when compared to the same period in 2016, in part driven by 40% year-on-year growth for the discounter’s chilled offer which includes a range of ready meals and desserts.

Lidl was up 14.5% on last year, putting both discounters leaps and bounds ahead of the big four in terms of growth with Tesco top of the bunch, increasing its value sales by 3.1% on last year.

With the exception of The Co-op, down 1.5%, all the big names in high street retailing from Waitrose to Iceland enjoyed modest single-digit growth as food price inflation continues at pace.

Like-for-like grocery inflation now sits at 3.6%, the highest level since 2013, but food inflation hasn’t been the only growth driver; alcohol sales were also up on last year’s sales by nearly £172m for the period, and Kantar’s Fraser McKevitt has suggested this growth is more down to changing consumer tastes than anything else.

“This impressive growth is mainly a result of consumers choosing more expensive tipples,” said McKevitt.

“Gin, whisky and sparkling wine all saw significant growth: up by 26%, 10% and 7% respectively as shoppers pushed the boat out.”

The latest figures from Nielsen also point to good fortunes for food and drink sales.

The firm predicted that only one-third of shoppers would spend less on food and drink during Christmas 2017 than the previous year, with data for the four weeks ending 2 December showing grocery retailers enjoying a 3.4% uplift on 2016.

That 3.4% figure is itself another testament to the rapid rise of the discounters however, with Nielsen revealing that growth drops to 1.3% when Lidl and Aldi are removed from the equation.