Widely touted as the hottest summer on record, the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, published today for the 12 weeks to 9 September, show it has been an indulgent one for consumers. Spanning the World Cup kick off in June through to the August bank holiday and beyond, the figures show consumers spent £228 million more on alcohol, £178 million more on soft drinks and £74 million more on ice cream, while the overall market grew by 3.8%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “The warm summer has been kind to the supermarkets’ convenience format stores as consumers shopped locally for drinks and barbecue supplies, collectively growing sales by 7.6% compared to last year. Co-op was a particular beneficiary and increased sales by 8.5%, its fastest rate since 2011. Tesco Express also benefited from shoppers staying close to home and performed especially well, contributing to total sales for Tesco rising 1.9%.
“As speculation mounts over the launch of Tesco’s discount retailer Jack’s, it’s worth remembering how quickly rivals Aldi and Lidl have grown their market share. In the five years to September 2013 their combined market share increased by 2.4 percentage points to 6.8%. This growth then accelerated and in the subsequent five years the two nearly doubled their share to its current level of 13.1%.
“While it is not yet known which lines Jack’s stores will carry, Tesco’s ‘Exclusively at’ brands such as Eastman’s and Creamfields are proving popular with shoppers. The own-label product lines launched earlier this year and accounted for £90 million of sales over the past 12 weeks – finding their way into 16% of Tesco shopping baskets.”
In the overall market, promotional sales fell and accounted for 32.4% of total grocery sales – the lowest level since June 2009. McKevitt explains: “Retailers are looking to offer consistently lower prices on everyday items rather than one-off deals and they have all reduced promotions as a result.
“That being said, consumers may not feel like they have more money in their pockets – grocery inflation has now reached 2.0%, adding £1.64 to each household’s weekly shopping bill. At the current rate, these price increases add up to an extra £85 per home annually.”
Aldi was the UK’s fastest growing supermarket in the latest period – sales rose 13.9% with nearly half of this growth coming from the fresh and chilled aisles. Its discount rival Lidl also outpaced the market up 8.3%. Both retailers increased sales of branded products at a much faster rate than overall market growth, though these household brand names still only account for 8% of Aldi’s and 13% of Lidl’s sales.
Meanwhile Asda’s recovery continues – sales rose 3.1% as the Leeds-based retailer attracted an additional 211,000 shoppers over the past 12 weeks. McKevitt continues: “Asda rolled back prices on branded lines and at the same time sales of its core own-label ranges rose 8.4%. The recently rebranded Waitrose & Partners saw sales rise by 0.8%, up against some challenging comparisons from last year when the retailer had a higher level of price promotional activity. The supermarket’s unbroken run of growth stretches back to February 2009 and market share now stands at 5.1%, down 0.2 percentage points on last year.”
Morrisons released positive interim results last week and has increased sales by 3.0% with its premium ‘The Best’ range a particular bright spot, growing four times faster than this overall rate. Sales at Sainsbury’s rose at their fastest rate since December, while its share of the market fell by 0.4 percentage points to 15.4%.
At Iceland, sales were up by 6.0% supported by its ‘7 Day Deals’ – its core frozen lines did grow, but it was ambient and chilled products which were the best performing for the retailer. Online specialist Ocado increased sales by 7.9%, for a 1.2% share of the grocery market.