Discounters enjoy good Christmas while big four suffer

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Almost 1M more people visited the discounters this Christmas
Almost 1M more people visited the discounters this Christmas

Related tags Market share Sainsbury's

The discount retailers Aldi and Lidl enjoyed a boost in sales over Christmas, while the big four suffered in a market that saw sales fall by 0.2%, according to figures released by Kantar Worldpanel today (January 12).

Of the big four retailers, Sainsbury experienced the best Christmas trading with a marginal increase in sales of 0.8%, compared with the same period last year for the 12 weeks to January 3.

But it was outshone by the 18.5% sales increase that the fastest growing retailer Lidl experienced and the 13.3% boost enjoyed by Aldi.

Lidl’s average basket size grew by 7% to £17.20.

One in eight visited discounters

Almost one in eight British consumers did their biggest December shop in Aldi or Lidl, on top of the 15.6M households who visited at some point in the 12 week festive shopping period, Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said.

“That is an increase of nearly 1M shoppers on last year, and their combined share is up from 8.3% last year to 9.7%,”​ he claimed.

“Despite Aldi and Lidl’s success, consumers are still spending most of their money in more traditional supermarkets, particularly in December, and total discounter share has dipped from the 10.0% achieved just before Christmas.”

Christmas trading facts

  • 23rd​ December was the biggest shopping day of the year
  • Groceries were 1.8% cheaper
  • Amount spent on typical Christmas dinner was down 2.2%
  • Sparkling wine sales grew by 11%

Waitrose benefitted from shoppers “trading up”​ at Christmas, growing sales by 1.5% and taking its market share up to 5.2%, McKevitt added.

The Co-operative also won share at Christmas for the first time since the Somerfield acquisition – its sales growth of 1.4% was enough for it to secure 6.0% of the market.

Tesco, Morrisons and Asda

But Tesco, Morrisons and Asda all lost market share during the Christmas period.

Tesco’s sales fell by 2.7%, hitting its market share, which fell to 28.3%. Asda and Morrisons market share declined to 16.2% and 11% respectively.

Market analyst Nielsen reported positive news for retailers as consumers spent £3.3bn  during the week ending Boxing Day – 8% more than in the same period a year ago.

Supermarket sales during Christmas week were 43% higher than in an average week, when around £2.3bn is spent, according to Nielsen.

Fellow market analyst Shore Capital said although Santa did come during Christmas 2015, his goody bag “wasn’t as full as envisioned”.  

Meanwhile, Morrisons has posted a surprise boost in like-for-like sales​ today.

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