Discount retailer Aldi was the top performing grocer at Christmas, according to figures from Nielsen for the four weeks to 24 December 2011.
According to Nielsen, Aldi enjoyed stellar growths of more than 40% in December as a flood of new shoppers were persuaded through its doors by award-winning advertising, including the most-liked TV ad of 2011.
Asda had a strong December too with sales up 10.7% on last year, fueled by store conversions and a growth in shopper penetration across all stores. This kept its performance ahead of Waitrose (sales up +8.8%), Sainsbury (+6.7%) and Morrisons (+5.9% ).
Nielsen senior manager for retailer services, Mike Watkins, said: “Overall, this was a disloyal Christmas, with retailers experiencing more shopper visits and more new shoppers than last year, as consumers shopped around for choice and range as well as the best deals and deepest promotions. It was a strong end to the year with underlying unit (volume) sales growths back into positive territory (+0.9%) for the first time since the end of May.”
Overall, value growth at the UK’s grocery multiples for the four weeks to 24 December 2011 was a surprisingly strong +5.5%, said Nielsen. But while this was down a little on the corresponding four-week period in 2010, it was a considerable improvement on the +2.2% for the preceding four weeks in November 2011.
According to researchers, shoppers, who’d held back earlier in December, freed up their spending in the final seven days before Christmas.
Watkins said: “The initial delay in spending in early December, followed by a £4bn surge in sales in the final week before Christmas, made this one of the biggest pre-Christmas weeks for UK food retailers. Very cold weather in the week before Christmas 2010 amplified growths in 2011.
“All categories benefited with sales of soft drinks (+11%), crisps/snacks (+11%) and deli/cheese/meats (+8%) showing the strongest growth. General merchandise (+5%) also bounced back with supermarkets gaining share from the non-food channel, as shoppers maximised their more-limited discretionary spend by taking advantage of extended non-food ranges and promotions at the big four supermarkets.”
Table: 12-weekly % share of grocery market spend by retailer and value sales % change
|12 weeks % share to 25 Dec 2010||12 weeks % share to 24 Dec 2011||Value % change vs 12 weeks year ago|
|MARKS & SPENCER||3.9||4.0||4.7|
The figures in the table are based on 12 weeks sales through to 24 December 2011 compared with the same 12-week period in 2010.
Source: Nielsen Total Till, Nielsen Homescan