The market share figures, published for the first time since the merger of Morrisons and Safeway, showed Morrisons with a share of 14.6% for the 12 weeks to March 28, just 1.1% behind Sainsbury’s 15.7%, down from 16.6% last year.
Analysts at JP Morgan said: “Now Morrisons is keeping the smaller Safeway stores (under the Safeway banner) it may not be long until it overtakes Sainsbury in market share. In order to lift sales, it seems likely that Sainsbury’s management will have to bring prices more in line with Tesco and Asda.”
However the TNS figures, which have undergone a new measurement methodology, highlighted the effort that Morrisons must make to turnaround Safeway. While Morrisons’ sales increased by 14% over the 12 weeks - compared with 11% at Tesco and 10% at Asda - Safeway’s sales fell by 3% over the same period and its market share fell from 9.2% to 8.4%.
Asda remains in second place with a 16.6% share, up from 16.1% last year, while Tesco continues to dominate with 27.3% share of the market - up by 1.2% on last year.