Most of the British supermarket chains saw increased sales during the 12-week period to 19 February, but one of them continues to make more of a splash than the rest.
Aldi eclipsed its previous benchmark for market share against competitors and now stands at 9.4%, firmly in fourth place behind juggernaut Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. Rival Lidl also gained ground on fifth-place Morrisons by improving to 7.1% overall.
While many UK retailers are focused on two big issues – providing competitive prices against the deep discounters and making sure their shelves are stocked with enough fruits and vegetables – Aldi has its sights on different targets. They are looking to open more stores and have sent out yet another pitch to those who can help in areas where it is hoping to convert customers.
The list of 30 includes those in the Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire – neighborhoods in Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, and prime locations such as Birmingham, Wigan, Liverpool, Bath, York and Oxford.
“Demand for Aldi has never been higher,” Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer at Aldi UK, said. “There are still some towns and areas that either don’t have access to an Aldi or have capacity for additional stores. To meet that demand, we need to open more stores and it’s our mission to keep driving our ambitious expansion plan to achieve that.”
The steamrolling Aldi is putting £400 million into redeveloping and building new stores and can do so because of the momentous success of its supermarkets, which are nearing 1,000 in the UK. The fastest growing grocer according to Kantar saw sales rise by 26.7%.
Aldi’s goal, for now, is to get to 1,200 stores and is hoping it gain more footing in “freehold town-centre or edge-of-town sites” that are near main roads. Simply, they want to be able to build their signature 20,000sq foot facilities with room for 100 parking spaces. Aldi is even pitching a finder’s fee for agents who identify sites (1.5% of a freehold price or 10% of the first year’s rent for leasehold sites.)
Aldi isn’t the only player to watch. Lidl also is continuing to grow, helped too by burgeoning sales that rose more than 25% during the three months prior to mid-February. It stands well ahead of Co-op now and has its sights on Morrisons, too. Iceland is another to watch, with spending jumping more than 10% year over year. And Ocado saw an 11% rise in sales to hit 1.9% of the market, its best showing ever.
The Big Three held steady, though with far less exuberance than Aldi and Lidl. Tesco’s sales were up 6.6%, while Sainsbury’s jumped 6.2% and Asda’s rose 5.9%. Morrisons saw a 0.9% dip, though that was its best performance in more than a year.