Shoppers shelled out £2.8bn in supermarkets in the week before Christmas, up 13% on the previous year. In the four weeks to Christmas sales were up 6% overall [ACNielsen].
And exclusive figures for The Grocer by ACNielsen reveal that Tesco’s penetration in the four weeks was 60.3%. Almost two thirds of grocery shoppers visited Tesco, compared with Asda’s 39.7%, Sainsbury’s 38.6% and Morrisons’ 30.4%.
However, Tesco could come up short of last year’s record-breaking like-for-like sales growth of 7.6% when it reports on Tuesday (January 17), with 4.8% expected this year, said Investec analyst Ingrid Boon.
Sainsbury this week reported a full 12 months of growth with like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, up 5.2%. Chief executive Justin King said it had attracted a record 19 million customers in the
week to Christmas.
He was confident Sainsbury would achieve sales growth of 2.2% for the next quarter, representing true growth-on-growth turnaround.
In addition, it had cut 800 prices in the past three months and was also expanding the reach of its online service to include one million extra households this year.
Morrisons, meanwhile, claimed that a move to healthier and premium products by its consumers helped it deliver a better-than-forecast trading performance with like-for-like sales up 2.8%, excluding fuel, for the six weeks to January 8. Sales at its 220 conversion stores were up 9%, while those converted for more than a year had growth of 5.7%. But like-for-like sales at its 122 core stores fell 2.9%.
Citigroup Investment Research said Asda had continued to perform below the market, with 1.2% implied growth in December and 2.7% in January, against industry averages of 4.6% and 4.3%.
Meanwhile, M&S chief executive Stuart Rose said that suppliers were starting to see the point of reductions in invoice costs through higher volumes after the retailer revealed a 5.1% upturn in like-for-like food sales.
Rachel Barnes, Ronan Hegarty