Co-op Food continues to trump larger rivals

THE Co-operative is continuing to enjoy sales growth and is out-performing its bigger rivals in the grocery market.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to February 28 shows the Manchester-based convenience store specialist grew sales 1.9% to £1.586bn, with a market share of 6% thanks to increased shopper frequency.

Overall the figures showed a small increase in supermarket sales which are up by 0.5% compared with a year ago. Kantar Wordpanel said this is the fastest rate of growth since October 2015 but is still being held back by the ongoing price war and falling grocery prices, which are down by 1.6% – a continuous decline which began in September 2014.

Across the main retailers Sainsbury’s was again the only one of the big four to increase overall spend.  It has been boosted by strong online sales and its Sainsbury’s Local convenience stores, though its overall share remained flat at 16.8%.

Tesco’s positive run continues as its overall sales fell by 0.8% – halving last month’s decline of 1.6%. A renewed focus on price promotions  helped stem the flow of shoppers leaving the retailer despite the closure of around 50 stores in the last year.

Mirroring recent trends, the German discounters Aldi and Lidl continued to grow their sales, and having dipped after Christmas, once more jointly account for more than 10% of the market.  Lidl’s sales grew by 18.9% and Aldi’s by 15.1%.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, comments: “Despite prices continuing to decline, the combination of
Valentine’s Day, and consumers stocking up for an early Easter has boosted certain categories. February chocolate sales are up by 13%, cut flowers
have increased by 7%, and sparkling wine sales are up by 15%. New Year resolutions to eat more healthily don’t seem to have been forgotten,  helping fruit and vegetable revenues to grow by 4% despite like-for-like produce prices falling.”

Morrisons saw a 3.2% fall in its monthly sales afer selling its convenience stores. The Bradford-based group’s market share is now 10.6%.

Compared with the 0.5% growth in the overall market, sales in larger stores have fallen by 2% as shoppers spend less per average trip in these
shop formats. This disproportionally affected Asda with its large stores, with sales falling by 4% and market share down to 16.2%.

Waitrose saw sales growing by 0.2%, maintaining its 5.2% share of the market for the third period in a row.