Big-four supermarkets losing market share

<p>Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl continue to make gains over their bigger competitors.</p>

The UK's "big four" supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - have all lost market share in the almost-stagnant grocery market. 

Discount supermarkets like German-owned Aldi and Lidl continue to make gains over their bigger competitors, reports market research company Kantar Worldpanel. Combined, Aldi and Lidl now have a combined market share of 9.7 per cent, up from 8.4 per cent a year ago.

Although Tesco remains the market leader, like-for-like sales at the grocery giant fell 0.9 per cent in the 12 weeks to August 16th. Although the company has seen strong growth in its convenience shops and online sales, this was not enough to offset lower revenue at larger stores.

Market share for Tesco fell to 28.3 per cent, compared to 28.8 per cent last year. 

Earlier this month, Asda reported its worst quarterly sales performance since it was bought by Wal-Mart in 1999 – down 2.5 per cent. The company's market share also fell from 17.2 per cent to 16.6 per cent.

In addition, Morrisons saw quarterly sales drop 1.1 per cent. Sainsbury's was the only one of the big four supermarkets to report a sales rise – of 0.1 per cent. However, the company saw its market share fall 0.1 per cent to 16.3 per cent.

In comparison, Aldi and Lidl both reported accelerated sales growth, to 18 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively.

Waitrose achieved a 3.7 per cent growth in sales and Iceland saw a 3.4 per cent increase in sales. However, the latter's market share remained flat at two per cent.

Asda back at number two

After losing the position to Sainsbury's last month, Asda has reclaimed its title as the UK's second largest supermarket.

However, Fraser McKevitt from Kantar warned this was likely to be temporary. "The retailer's greater focus on non-food items means its market share is traditionally higher in the summer, and it's expected that Sainsbury's will again become the number-two retailer towards Christmas," he said.

At 16:30 BST on Tuesday (August 25th), Tesco saw shares up around 2.7 per cent to 186.00p. Shares in Sainsbury's were up 2.5 per cent to 237.70p, and and shares in Morrisons were up 1.48 per cent to 166.23p.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Wal-Mart shares were up 1.95 per cent.

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