Morrisons Dalton Philips M-local

Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips

Morrisons has returned to profit with sales growth of 1.2 per cent, for the 12 weeks ending May 12, according to the latest retail data from Kantar Worldpanel. The big-four retailer had previously posted a 1.3 per cent sales loss for the month of February.

However, despite an encouraging performance, the supermarket chain's market share fell to 11.6 per cent, down 0.3 percentage points (11.9 per cent) from the same period last year.

Kantar Worldpanel director Ed Garner said Morrisons' £170 million investment in setting up itsonline delivery service will help the retailer return to growth. He explained: 'Although Morrisons shows a share loss, it is worth noting that the retailer returned to growth in 2013 and continues this upward trend in the latest period – growing 1.2 per cent. With its plans for online and accelerated convenience store coverage now in place, the retailer will hope that successful implementation will return it to share growth.”

The discounters also continued to rise in grocery market share with Aldi posting an all-time record share of 3.5 per cent, while Lidl held on to its largest ever share of three per cent, posting strong sales growth of 8.9 per cent.

Elsewhere, it was also good news for Waitrose, with the upmarket retailer growing more than three times ahead of the market average of 3.9 per cent. The retailer held on to last month's record share of 4.9 per cent, achieving growth of 12 per cent.

Furthermore, Sainsbury's was the only top-four retailer to grow ahead of the market average and to increase its market share, which rose 0.3 percentage points to 16.8 per cent in comparison to the same period last year.

Garner isn't surprised by the ongoing success of Waitrose and the discounters such as Lidl and Aldi. He concluded: 'The success of Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose are clear examples of how shopping habits are divided across the country. For many consumers, the discounters are increasingly becoming part of the weekly shop and we expect this growth to continue, particularly as store expansion plans open up the discounters to a wider number of customers.'