Online boosts Asda's festive sales

Asdas Extra Special range was the fastest growing of any premium line of the major retailers
Asdas Extra Special range was the fastest growing of any premium line of the major retailers
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Asda has emerged the festive winner among the big four supermarkets as strong online growth of 12 per cent helped push its sales up 0.7 per cent, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel figures.

Two thirds of households shopped at either Aldi or Lidl over the Christmas period, giving the discounters their highest ever combined market share of 12.8 per cent.

Fraser McKevitt, Kantar Worldpanel’s head of retail and consumer insight, said: “Asda’s Extra Special range was the fastest growing of any premium line of the major retailers, helping the supermarket achieve growth of 0.7 per cent and come out top among the big four. Asda was also bolstered by a standout online performance as its e-commerce sales rocketed by 12 per cent.”

Asda’s Extra Special sales rose 10 per cent over the 12 weeks to December 30. Mr McKevitt said that whilst premium and online have boosted Asda, the real driver of growth was Asda’s core own-label range. This was the 23rd four-week period of growth for Asda.

Mr McKevitt said the overall grocery spend was tempered by lower inflation of 1.3 per cent.

“This slower inflation rate helped shoppers to manage their festive budgets, with 60 per cent of customers looking to make savvier decisions to make their money go further over the holidays,” he said.

“People want to make sure their money is going as far as it can. They wanted to celebrate Christmas, but not pay over the odds.”

Sainsbury’s was the weakest of the big four with a 0.4 per cent decline.

Tesco’s sales rose 0.6 per cent and Morrisons saw 0.1 per cent growth.

Apart from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose was the only other retailer to see a drop in sales, with a decline of 1.7 per cent.

Overall, supermarkets rang up another record Christmas.

Shoppers spent a record £29.3bn on groceries in the 12 weeks to December 30, which was £450m more than the previous year.

But growth was slower as the lower level of inflation took its toll. The sector grew at 1.6 per cent, its slowest rate since March 2017.

New figures from Nielsen showed a similar trend, with overall grocery sales up 1.8 per cent in the last four weeks, compared with 3.7 per cent last year.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, put this down to changing consumer grocery shopping habits.

“It was a reasonable but not spectacular Christmas, indicative of how shoppers will now spread their Christmas spending across more retailers and different channels,” he said.

Retailers are now kicking off a January price war, with both Morrisons and Tesco slashing prices on core ranges and all of the big four cutting fuel prices.