Sainsbury’s leads growth at top four supermarkets

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Garner: supermarkets must strike balance between price and quality

Sainsbury’s is the only top four supermarket in the UK to grow its market share in the 12 weeks ending 31 October 2010, according to the latest grocery figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Sainsbury’s sales grew by 6.1% in the period, well ahead of the market growth of 4%. It is the 21st consecutive period in which Sainsbury’s has grown its year-on-year share value.

Total market growth remains ahead of Kantar’s estimate for grocery price inflation of 3%, based on over 75,000 identical products compared year-on-year in the proportions purchased by British shoppers, and the company sees no signs of a return to the trading down witnessed at the end of 2008.

Edward Garner, communications director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “The large customer base of the top four retailers means they must strike a balance between price and quality – low prices alone will not be enough to lure shoppers this Christmas. Sainsbury’s has hit a sweet spot with this balance and this is reflected in its continued growth.”

Market share figures for Tesco and Morrisons have remained largely consistent this period – close to the market growth baseline – with Tesco holding 30.6% of the market and Morrisons remaining stable at 11.7%.

Asda’s market share continues to come under pressure at 17.2% of the market. However, there are signs this negative trend is abating as the share dip is less than in previous periods.

Garner added: “The Waitrose growth of 8.6% continues to impress, particularly when set against the growth of 12.3% we saw a year ago.”

The discounters’ market share remains largely unchanged, demonstrating the success the top four retailers have had in retaining their customers.

Garner said: “As retailers prepare for the festive season the relaunch of both Asda’s and Sainsbury’s own-label brands will be major factors influencing Christmas performance. It is also important to note the share benefits of disposals and conversions to Co-operative, since its takeover of Somerfield, are now coming to an end and it will be interesting to see how the retailer performs going forward.”