Aldi’s upward curve continues, but not at expense of Waitrose

VIDEO: Fraser McKevitt at Kantar Worldpanel interprets the UK's latest grocery retail market share figures

The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending March 29, 2015, show that Aldi has become Britain’s sixth largest supermarket. Watch the video here

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Aldi has recorded double-digit sales growth for the past four years and is now Britain’s sixth largest supermarket with 5.3% of the market. Growth has been fuelled by over half a million new shoppers choosing to visit Aldi this year and average basket sizes increasing by 7%. The German discounter’s sales have increased by 16.8% in the latest period, still high compared to other retailers but slower relative to its recent performance.”

Despite scare stories such as this, being overtaken by Aldi is not a disaster for Waitrose – more a sign of the times and the fact that Aldi’s aggressive store-opening strategy is inevitably increasing its sales.

Lidl and Waitrose were in fact the only other retailers to grow sales ahead of the market and increase their market share in the latest period. Waitrose increased its sales by 2.9% compared with this time last year and now accounts for 5.1% of the grocery market, so The Guardian’s six tips to save the upmarket chain may be more than a little premature. Waitrose has grown its sales in an unbroken run stretching back to March 2009.

Meanwhile, Lidl’s 12.1% sales growth moved it up to a 3.7% share of the market.

Sainsbury’s is back in growth this period for the first time since August 2014. It brought in more shoppers, grew sales by 0.2%, and as a result has slowed the rate at which it was losing market share – down just 0.1 percentage point to 16.4%. Tesco also grew sales, up 0.3%, while Asda and Morrisons declined by 1.1% and 0.7% respectively.

McKevitt continues: “The changing structure of Britain’s supermarket landscape is illustrated by two facts. Firstly, the so-called discounters Aldi and Lidl now command a combined 9% share of the market. In 2012 the same two retailers only accounted for 5.4% of grocery sales. Secondly, the 72.8% share taken by the biggest four retailers is now at the lowest level in a decade.”

Across the market consumers are continuing to benefit from falling prices. All major supermarkets are offering higher levels of promotion and as a result groceries are now 2.0% cheaper than they were a year ago.

All change in Ireland

Across the Irish Sea, the latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, again for the 12 weeks ending 29 March, show a change at the top with SuperValu becoming Ireland’s largest grocery retailer.

David Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “One of the key rules in driving sales growth is that you need to broaden your appeal to attract new consumers to your brand. SuperValu has consistently achieved this with 18 consecutive periods of footfall growth increasing its shopper numbers by 63,000.

“Undoubtedly one of the key milestones in helping SuperValu move to the top of the pile was the acquisition of the Superquinn business in July 2011. Rebranding the 24 Superquinn stores under the SuperValu banner in February 2014 led to an immediate jump in market share from 20% to 25.1%. More importantly, SuperValu’s performance within Dublin improved dramatically as its market share more than doubled from 9.5% to 22.2%.”

Tesco’s story in Ireland is one of mixed performance. Sales are down year on year and as a result market share has dipped from 25.9% to 24.7%. While Tesco will be disappointed to have lost its number one position, there are, however, some positive signs for the retailer. It has not lost shoppers since this time last year and its customers are making the same number of shopping trips with increased average basket sizes – the most positive results for these metrics in more than two years. This points to an interesting battle over the coming months as SuperValu looks to remain in the top spot while Tesco aims to regain its advantage.

Further down the list, Dunnes has continued to enjoy healthy growth, with a 4.9% sales increase improving its market share to 22.7%. This has been fuelled by larger baskets, with two additional items included in each average trip, and can be linked to the retailer’s ‘Shop and Save’ voucher campaign which incentivised shoppers to spend more on each visit. The performance of both Aldi and Lidl has remained good, with sales growth of 11.1% and 9.7% respectively. Aldi has successfully recruited new shoppers to its stores, while Lidl shoppers are returning to the retailer more often.


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