Sainsbury’s again leads the way among UK’s ‘Big Four’ supermarkets

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's. - Credit: Archant

Sainsbury’s was again alone among the UK’s Big Four supermarkets in growing its sales during the 12 weeks to the end of February.

But market leader Tesco halved its rate of decline as the sector as a whole achieved its strongest growth since October, despite a continuing price war.

According to the latest figures from analyst Kantar Worldpanel, Sainsbury’s achieved a 0.5% increase in sales – its eight consecutive quarter of growth – although its market share remained unchanged at 16.8%.

Tesco’s decline in sales fell to 0.8%, from 1.6% during the previous period, with a renewed focus on price promotions helping to stem the exodus of shoppers, the report said.

However, this did not stop Tesco’s market share dipping further, to 28.4%, with the company having closed around 50 stores in the past year.

Asda and Morrisons also suffered further sales falls, of 4% and 3.2% respectively, with their market shares also dipping, to 16.2% and 10.6%.

However, store closures also contributed to the falls at Morrisons and its online sales grew strongly, with Kantar Worldpanel predicting a further boost from its new tie-up with Amazon.

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Overall grocery sales for the period were 0.5% higher compared with a year earlier, despite prices in the sector being 1.6% lower as a result of the ongoing price war, sparked by competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Lidl’s sales grew by 18.9% and Aldi’s by 15.1% during the most recent quarter, taking their market share to 4.2% and 5.8% respectively – matching the combined high of 10% they achieved before Christmas.

The Co-op recorded growth of 1.9%, increasing its share to 6%, while Waitrose achieved growth of 0.2%, maining its share at 5.2%.