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UK: Lidl closes the year with the highest growth

Once more Lidl delivers the highest growth and market share in the UK, says latest Kantar UK market data for 12 weeks ending 24th December. Compared to this time last year, Lidl have gained the most market share, up 0.5% points, and are the fastest growing retailer at 13.8%. Aldi is following with 9,9%.

The December period each year typically sees the discounters’ overall share falling back a little, as consumers choose to do their big Christmas shop in one of the full-service supermarkets. 2023 has been no different, with Aldi and Lidl’s combined share in the 12 weeks ending 24/12 dropping by 0.4% points to 17.0% from the 12 weeks ending 26/11 period – the same level of drop as seen in 2022 and in 2021.

The UK market grew by 6.9%, down from the last 12-week period figure of 7.5%. However, the 4-week sales leading up to Christmas Eve saw a record £13.7 billion sales across the market, with 12 million more shopping trips made compared to the same period in 2022.

Over the last 4 weeks, grocery inflation has fallen to 6.7%, down from 9.1%. Spend on offer has increased to almost 33%, largely due to the high number of offers on Christmas seasonal products seen in most retailers, as well as the annual week-before-Christmas veg battle which this year saw many retailers selling the likes of carrots, sprouts, and potatoes at just 15p a bag.

The 6.7% rate of inflation over the last 4 weeks has fallen below the level of sales growth for the first time since mid-2021, suggesting a slight increase in volumes for the first time in two and a half years. Indeed, Kantar report the number of items being bought has risen by 2%.

Sainsburys continue to outperform the other “big 4”, with sales up 9.3% and market share, at 15.8%, being their highest in 4 years. A continued strong execution of their Nectar prices instore is a key factor in their recent success.

Tesco continue to grow ahead of the market for the sixth period in a row, with their sales exceeding £10bn for the first time ever. Morrisons' growth of 3.2% has fallen below #asda's at 3.4%. Waitrose usually see a growth in share towards Christmas, and this happened again with their share increasing to 4.6% from 4.4%. Conversely the Coop see a decline in share as consumers favour the bigger stores, and therefore their share fell from 5.8% in the November period to 5.4%.

In Private label the premium tier saw impressive growth of 11.9% with some exceptional new seasonal products seen across the market. Kantar report total branded sales up by 6%, slightly behind the total market growth, suggesting private label growth continues to out-pace branded growth.

January will be a fascinating month – usually full of "lower-price" campaigns from all retailers – expect to see grocery inflation falling yet again, making value sales growth much more difficult for some retailers to achieve.

Source: Kantar, Paul Stainton

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