Morrisons still the fastest rising of Big Four supermarkets

Morrisons. Photo credit: Mikael Buck/Morrisons/PA Wire
Morrisons. Photo credit: Mikael Buck/Morrisons/PA Wire
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British supermarkets have reached two years of consecutive growth with Bradford-based Morrisons keeping the title of fastest growing big four grocer, according to industry data.

The industry has been boosted by booming summer sales of spirits, soft drinks and hay fever remedies over the past 12 weeks, the latest Kantar Worldpanel data showed.

Sales rose for 25 consecutive periods and are up 2.1 per cent compared with this time last year, according to the market share data for the 12 weeks to June 17. A decline was last recorded in June 2016.

The promotion of wonky vegetables helped Morrisons keep the title of the fastest growing of the big four supermarkets with a sales increase of 1.9 per cent, while Lidl saw a 33 per cent increase in sales of branded goods.

Shoppers have already spent 6 per cent more on spirits than the same period last year and soft drinks are up 7 per cent.

Gin sales alone have increased by £38m and 1.7 million litres. Sales of hay fever remedies are up by 19 per cent year-on-year and have been bought by 5.7 million households, reflecting Met Office predictions of record pollen levels, Kantar said.

The potential merger between Leeds-based Asda and Sainsbury’s has been the major talking point in the supermarket sector this year.

The duo recorded differing performances over the past quarter.

Asda increased sales by 1.8 per cent while Sainsbury’s sales fell 0.2 per cent.

Sales grew by 1.4 per cent at Tesco although its market share decreased to 27.7 per cent from 27.9 per cent a year ago while the Co-op recorded its strongest growth in over a year as sales increased by 2.4 per cent.

Lidl’s 10 per cent sales growth made it the only bricks and mortar retailer to experience double digit growth.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “After a couple of difficult years for the supermarkets this sustained period of growth is welcome news.

“The latest figures largely pre-date the soaring temperatures and new-found optimism for England’s World Cup chances but with the nation spending over half a billion more in supermarkets this period compared with last year, it suggests that summer has already arrived for many.”

Waitrose sales have risen by only 0.1 per cent, however this does mean the John Lewis-owned retailer has grown continually since March 2009 – an unbroken run of success that is only bettered in length by German discounters Aldi and Lidl.