The rise of independents, as typified by the convenience sector, has continued undaunted despite the Lidl and Aldi phenomenon, and buoyed by the June heatwave when ice-cream sales soared.
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 16 July sees symbols’ and independents’ sales outgrow most of their multiple-grocer competitors in percentage terms.
Symbols and independents notched up 7.2% growth to £526m. Their percentage sales growth outperformed Iceland (5.7%), Waitrose (2.8%), the Co-op (0.4%), Morrisons (2.1%), Asda (1%), Sainsbury’s (2.2%) and market leader Tesco (2.3%).
Continental discounter Lidl, however, saw sales growth rocket 19.5% to £1.35bn, and Aldi by 17.9% to £1.84bn. Their combined market share now stands at 12.1%.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said price rises were no longer accelerating. “Like-for-like inflation now stands at 3.2%, the same rate of increase as this time last month.”
Hard-pressed shoppers could soon start to feel upward pricing pressures ease, one year on from the European Union referendum, which had a marked impact on the price of imported groceries, he said.
“June’s hot spell was good news for UK grocers, with sales particularly buoyant around the hottest June day for 40 years.”
Ice-cream sales climbed 34% in June alone, and sales of suncare products increased 40% year on year. Shoppers also spent an extra £158m on alcohol over the 12 weeks. Fruit and vegetable sales spiked – up 7% – as shoppers spent an extra £170m on these products.
Own-label enjoyed a 6.7% year-on-year sales fillip and McKevitt said it was the pricier premium own-label lines that were leading the way – up 13.9% year on year. Brands experienced considerably slower growth, up 0.9%.
The latest Nielsen data corroborates the benefits of the hot weather, combined with a series of major sporting events, which it said led to a surge in alfresco dining.
Nielsen said the amount spent on groceries in the four weeks ending 15 July was 5.1% up on the same period last year and was the highest year-on-year rise for at least four years.
Ice cream climbed 45%, alcohol mixers 44%, fresh beef burgers, 29%, lemonade 24%, cider 19%, sparkling wines 17%, soft drinks 16% and prepared salads 16%.