Sainsbury’s crowned Christmas winner of Britain’s big supermarkets

12 Jan, 2016 2:40 pm

LONDON – British supermarket Sainsbury’s was the best performer of the industry’s major players this Christmas, the only one of the so called “big four” firms to grow sales and market share.

Data from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed no Christmas uplift for the overall British grocery market as sales fell by 0.2 percent on last year due to continuing price deflation of 1.8 percent.

However, Sainsbury’s, the discount retailers Aldi and Lidl, John Lewis’ Waitrose, and the Co-operative grew sales ahead of the market and won market share.

Shares in Sainsbury’s rose 3 percent after Kantar Worldpanel said its total sales rose 0.8 percent in the 12 weeks to Jan. 3 year-on-year and its market share edged up 0.1 percentage point.

Kantar said Sainsbury’s premium “Taste the Difference” brand recorded its biggest ever Christmas sales and promotional efforts were concentrated on simple price cuts rather than complicated multi-buy deals. This helped attract an additional 114,000 shoppers.

Sainsbury’s will publish its own Christmas trading statement on Wednesday.

Aldi and Lidl saw sales growth of 13.3 percent and 18.5 percent respectively, boosted by their store opening programmes across the country.

In contrast market leader Tesco (TSCO.L), which updates on Thursday, Wal-Mart’s (WMT.N) Asda and Morrisons (MRW.L) all saw sales declines — of 2.7 percent, 3.5 percent and 2.6 percent respectively — and all lost market share to the fast growing discounters.

However, Tesco’s shares rose 5.6 percent as investors took comfort from a performance which was an improvement on last month’s outcome and showed Christmas was not a disaster.

Shares in Morrisons were up 10.6 percent as investors focussed on its own trading statement, also published on Tuesday, which showed a rise in sales at its remaining stores – the first growth at the chain in four years.

Kantar Worldpanel data, which showed a decline for Morrisons, reflects the loss of sales from those stores it has shut. Waitrose’s sales rose 1.5 percent, while the Co-operative was up 1.4 percent. -Reuters

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