Supermarket sales have risen by over three per cent for the sixth month in a row, belying fears the cooler August would put the brakes on growth.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 10 September show sales rising 3.6 per cent compared to the same period last year. It is the most sustained period of such strong growth since May 2013.
The rise has been partly attributed to higher prices, with grocery inflation now at 3.2 per cent, and partly thanks to a 1.5 per cent increase in the volume of goods going through the tills.
However the prepared salad category was one victim of the disappointing August, with sales falling six per cent despite a mini heatwave over the bank holiday.
Among the supermarkets, Lidl was again the fastest-growing retailer with a 19.2 per cent sales increase taking its share up to 5.3 per cent. Growth was particularly strong among fresh and chilled products, as well as wine. Aldi’s 15.6 per cent growth took its market share to 6.9 per cent.
“Collectively Aldi and Lidl now account for nearly £1 in every £8 spent in Britain’s supermarkets – a decade ago this was only £1 in £25,” said Kantar head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt. “In the past three months almost 63 per cent of shoppers visited one of the two retailers, up from a level of 58.5 per cent last year.”
At least 98 per cent of households still shopped at one of the big-four stores, and McKevitt pointed to further evidence of Tesco’s return to form. “Tesco’s recovery is becoming more entrenched,” he said. “Sales have grown continually since April this year and are up by 2.7 per cent in the past 12 weeks, though the retailer’s market share remains under pressure, squeezed by 0.3 percentage points to 27.8 per cent."
Morrisons’ volume sales rose for the first time since January, while Sainsbury’s market share fell 0.2 percentage points to 15.7 per cent despite an average 2.1 per cent sales increase across its convenience, supermarket and online channels.
Asda attracted an extra 482,000 shoppers through the tills compared with a year ago – the fastest new shopper acquisition by the retailer in over three years – while sales increased at Iceland for an 18th consecutive period and are now up four per cent on a year ago, though market share has remained flat at 2.1 per cent.