Aldi and Lidl stores together

Top story

Discounters Aldi and Lidl have both boasted of a record-breaking Christmas as hard-pressed shoppers looked to save money over the festive period.

Aldi’s sales topped £1.5bn for the first time in the four weeks to 24 December, while Lidl increased sales by 12% but it did not reveal any financial figures.

Aldi said shoppers switching from traditional supermarkets in a search for “simple low prices” helped it boost sales 8%, with more households than ever shopping with the discounters.

Friday 22 December was its busiest trading day ever as 2.5 million customers flocked to its stores.

Lidl also said the 22nd was its busiest ever day, with about 4.5 million more people shopping with the discounter during December.

Lidl added customers came in search of “a touch of luxury at low prices”, with sales of the Deluxe lines up 11%, whiles sales of its Champagne doubled and prosecco jumped by 45%.

GB CEO Ryan McDonnell said: “Deluxe proved to be a standout winner this Christmas with record-breaking sales as we saw customers not only start their festive celebrations early but trade up to premium lines across all categories.

“As we look ahead into 2024 and even higher footfall, we remain relentlessly focused on continuing to do what we do best - which is always offering the highest quality on the market for unbeatable value.”

Aldi UK boss Giles Hurley pledged to continue lowering the cost of groceries for families in 2024.

“As we look ahead to 2024, our promise to customers is that they will always make significant savings on every shop with Aldi because we have the lowest grocery prices in Britain,” he said.

Morning update

Food price inflation slowed down for the eight month in a row in December, with wine, port and sherry prices all falling, according to new data released this morning.

The BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index showed food inflation decelerated to 6.7% in December, down from 7.7% in the prior month, with the figure at its lowest since June 2022.

Fresh food inflation slowed further to 5.4%, down from 6.7% in November, while ambient food inflation decelerated from 9.2% to 8.4%.

Overall shop price annual inflation was unchanged at 4.3% as non-food inflation rose from 2.5% to 3.1% in teh interim between Black Friday and January sales.

British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson warned cost pressures facing retailers risked prices going up faster in 2024.

“Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down in 2024, but there are obstacles on the road ahead,” she said.

“New border checks for EU imports, hundreds of millions more on business rates bills from April. Government should think twice before imposing new costs on retail businesses that would not only hold back vital investment in local communities, but also push up prices for struggling households.”

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at NielsenIQ, added: “NIQ research showed that low price, quality, and availability were the top factors for shoppers when planning where to do their main Christmas grocery shop this year so the further fall in shop prices will have helped shoppers celebrate the festive season.”

The FTSE 100 opened 0.3% higher this morning to 7,755.15pts.

Early new year risers in fmcg included Glanbia, up 4.3% to €14.91, Nichols, up 2.6% to 1,170p, Bakkavor, up 2.4% to 83p, and Marks & Spencer, up 1.8% to 277.2p.

Naked Wines is down 2.5% to 53.6p so far, with Hilton Food Group down 0.7% to 794.5p and Just Eat Takeaway down 1.3% to 1,203p.

This week in the City

It will likely be a slow start to the new year ahead of the Christmas trading updates gearing up from next week.

However, high street bellwether Next and discount chain B&M are both set to update the market on festive trading on Thursday.

And tomorrow brings the latest Kantar market share data for December.