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British consumers stand by the Big Four

The Big Four grocers continue to suffer from a fall in sales this quarter, yet shoppers are not deserting the chains entirely.

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have all reported declining revenue during the last quarter. However, Tesco holds on to a glimmer of hope as it saw the smallest drop of 1%, an indication that its profits may be stabilising following its problematic recent past, according to Kantar Worldpanel.  

While the market was deemed as “essentially flat” with a total value of 0.1% growth, statistics show that consumers are spreading their spending among the key grocers rather than abandoning them altogether.

Sainsbury’s recorded a 1.2% sales drop taking its market share down to 16.2% and Asda’s sales fell 5.1% resulting in a 15.8% market share.

John Lewis partnership owned Waitrose boasted a record share of 5.3% of the grocery market as its sales grew by 2.1%. Similarly, The Co-operative continued to post strong figures with 3.3% growth for the second consecutive period, increasing its market share to 6.2%.

As a result of Lidl and Aldi’s premium own-label brands and lowered prices, the value retailers are up 14.2% and 11.4% respectively.

Nielsen noted that it had recorded the “most encouraging” UK supermarket sales figures in more than eight months, just -0.1% down year-on-year.

"While the big four are struggling to keep their market share what's clear is that consumers aren't flocking away from their stores - their combined shopper numbers have dropped only 0.2% in the latest 12 weeks” commented Kantar Worldpanel Director Edward Garner.

"In fact, 94% of Aldi and Lidl shoppers still visit at least one of the four major retailers every four weeks.

"However, consumers' spend is increasingly being shared with other growing outlets which also include Waitrose, the Co-operative and Iceland and average household spend for the big four has dropped by 2.9%."

"With the proportion of shoppers switching to cheaper grocery brands to save money at a lowest-ever level, this indicates that initiatives to reduce prices permanently and run less promotions is resonating well with shoppers" said Mike Watkins, Nielsen's UK Head of Retailer and Business Insight.

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