Big four grocers lose more ground to German discounters

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THE big four grocers - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons - all lost market share over the last three months to discounters Aldi and Lidl, industry data showed.

Research from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed the UK grocery market continuing to polarise, with the big four being squeezed between the discounters and upmarket players such as Waitrose.

Although the economy is recovering from a long and deep recession, household budgets have remained under pressure due to subdued wages growth, with many shoppers looking to save money while also splashing out on the occasional treat.

Kantar said Aldi’s sales leapt 35.3 per cent year-on-year in the 12 weeks to March 30 - its highest ever growth rate, boosting the discounter to a record market share of 4.6 per cent.

Lidl’s sales rose 17.2 per cent, taking its share to 3.4 per cent.

Sales declines at the big four were accentuated by the later timing of Easter this year, included in the 2013 period but not in this data.

Leeds-based Asda proved the most resilient with a sales fall of 0.5 per cent, while Bradford-based Morrisons, which issued a profit warning last month, was the worst performer with a decline of 3.8 per cent, piling the pressure on chief executive Dalton Philips.

Tesco’s sales fell 3 per cent, while sales at Sainsbury’s declined 1.7 per cent.

Waitrose’s sales rose 4.5 per cent.