Asda beats market growth for first time since start of 2010

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Sales at Asda have overtaken total market growth for the first time since the beginning of 2010, according to the latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks ending 30 October 2011.

The data shows Asda grew by 5.1% in the period, ahead of total grocery market growth of 4.6%.

All top four retailers posted respectable performances this period, said Kantar.

Morrisons led the way with sales growth of 5.5%, followed by Asda and then Tesco and Sainsbury’s, both up 4.1%.

The discounters, particularly Aldi, continue their strong run. Aldi recorded year-on-year growth of 18.8% and increased its share from 2.3% to 2.6%. However, there are signs of a slackening of pace, as shares and growth rates for both Aldi and Lidl have fallen back from recent peaks, said Kantar.

The economic climate is also favouring the value-for-money offering from frozen foods and Iceland has posted growth of 11.6% – the highest since the 2008/9 recession.

Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “It comes as no surprise that, as shoppers try to control their budgets, an aggressive stance on price is driving retailer communication strategies.  We have ‘The Big Price Drop’ from Tesco, ‘The Price Guarantee’ from Asda, ‘Brand Match’ from Sainsbury’s and ‘Price Crunch’ from Morrisons.  The end result would appear to be a zero-sum game, as the performances from the big four show only marginal differences this period, with no outright winner.

“Given the universal emphasis on price across the sector, the big four retailers will need to differentiate themselves,” said Garner.

“Own-label brands are an obvious way of doing this. We are already seeing double-digit growth for Tesco Finest and substantial revamps for own-label ranges at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – suggesting this might be a key battleground going forward.”