Supermarkets have been urged to expand their own-label Health, beauty and toiletries ranges to avoid losing ground to the discounters.

The call comes as new research from Kantar Worldpanel - revealed exclusively by The Grocer - showed combined in-store health, beauty and toiletry sales had fallen by £18m at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in the fourth quarter of last year. In comparison, sales at discounters such as Aldi and Lidl had risen £4m in total, while bargain chains including Poundland had increased by £5m.

Despite the recession prompting shoppers to seek better value for money and trade down from pricier products, supermarket own-label ranges had lost market share over the past four years, said Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director Ashley Anzie. Own-label currently accounts for 18.6% of the value of the total health, beauty and toiletries category, down from 20.9% four years ago [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e to 30 March 2014].

“Supermarkets and high-street retailers such as Boots dominate the category - claiming an 88% share - but are missing a growth opportunity by not paying enough attention to their typically cheaper own labels,” added Anzie.

Alongside growing their own-label offerings, supermarkets should consider more promotions to “win back value space”, he added.

The average branded health, beauty and toiletries product costs £2.55 compared with £1.65 for own-label, according to Kantar Worldpanel.