Some £8.1m of spend switched from Lidl to Aldi in the 12 weeks to 4 September, latest Kantar data reveals. It’s the highest level of switching from Lidl to Aldi since 2018.
It’s thought Lidl may have suffered from poor availability levels, with its Twitter team fending off regular complaints from shoppers in recent months about empty shelves in numerous stores across the country.
Earlier this month, Lidl twice tweeted it was “experiencing some issues in our distribution centres” in reply to separate complaints about two stores – in Banbury and Hamworthy – having “empty shelves” with “so many items out of stock”.
The Banbury shopper said the issue had been “going on for ages”, adding: “I asked the manager, who said they keep getting let down by deliveries.”
Following enquiries from The Grocer, Lidl deleted its reply to the Banbury shopper, saying it had been “incorrect” and blaming “localised issues” instead of issues in DCs.
This year’s soaring inflation has intensified the challenge for retailers of maintaining wage competitiveness in warehouses, to avoid labour shortages and consequent availability issues. Aldi responded in August by giving hourly paid warehouse workers their second pay rise of the year, boosting their January 2022 rate by up to 9%.
A further challenge retailers currently face to availability is in maintaining supplier relations amid an inflation-driven daily onslaught of cost price increase requests. “It’s a challenge for all retailers and some are taking a harder line than others,” said a supermarket source. “If you fall out with a supplier, halting supply is their nuclear button.”
Among the big four, Tesco lost the most sales to Aldi in Kantar’s latest 12 weeks, with £63.6m of spend switching to the discounter, despite the supermarket’s heavily marketed Aldi Price Match campaign. Next was Morrisons, which lost £42.6m of spend to Aldi in the 12 weeks.
Aldi this week overtook Morrisons in Kantar market share data, to become the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket.
Aldi’s sales rose by 18.7% over the 12 weeks, taking its share to 9.3%, up from 8.1% a year ago. Meanwhile Morrisons saw sales drop 4.1%, taking its share to 9.1%, down from 9.8% last year.
Lidl grew sales by 20.9% to reach 7.1% market share.
A Lidl spokeswoman said: “As the UK’s fastest growing supermarket we are welcoming more customers through our doors than ever before.
“We have an unwavering commitment to provide our customers with the best products at the best prices. That is why we continue to see shoppers switching to Lidl, and it’s why we remain laser focused on opening new stores across the country to meet this increased customer demand.
“This is particularly important in areas where households don’t already have access to good quality food at affordable prices.”