Kantar Worldpanel -

Sainsbury's leads a resilient grocery sector



The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks ending 26 December 2010 show sharply different fortunes for the grocers and non-grocers over the festive period.

While the grocery sector enjoyed a prosperous Christmas with respectable growth of 5.1% this period, the non-grocers suffered a 2.3% decline in sales. This echoes the gloom of the latest Christmas trading reports from a number of non-food retailers.

Edward Garner, Communications Director, Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “Widespread disruption caused by the heavy snow before Christmas meant that many consumers only ventured outdoors for essential grocery shopping trips this year. The high streets are usually at their busiest over the festive period but this Christmas shoppers chose instead to stock up on non-food items such as DVDs, toys and books while doing their grocery shop. Increased spending levels rather than shopper numbers were therefore the driving force behind the strong growth of the grocery sector this period.”

Historically Sainsbury’s prospers over Christmas as shoppers trade up to more premium ranges. This year was no different, and crowning a period of consistent growth begun in 2004 Sainsbury’s was the only Top 4 retailer to increase its market share this period – from 16.3% a year ago to 16.6%.

Tesco effectively matched market growth and so its share remains unchanged at 30.5% but both Asda and Morrisons experienced small drops in share of 0.1%. Nevertheless, premium own-label ranges across the Top 4 grew by 11% year-on-year, a good measure of positive consumer sentiment pre-Christmas.

In a similar vein, Waitrose enjoyed robust growth of 9.4%, helped by the considerable media buzz around its Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal recipe offering. This added to the 16.5% growth seen for the Christmas 2009 period.

After a turbulent few months the Discounters Aldi and Lidl grew ahead of the market this period with spend levels increasing sharply. This is perhaps due to the convenient urban locations of the outlets against a background of disruptive weather, and some shoppers still seeking value for money during a traditionally expensive month.

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