The supermarkets’ rival claims over price are cancelling each other out, new data from Kantar Worldpanel suggests.

With year-on-year growth of 5.1% for the period, compared to a rate across the industry as a whole of 4.6%, Asda outperformed the market for the first time since the start of 2010.

But the big four retailers showed only marginal changes in their market share, despite initiatives such as Tesco’s Big Price Drop and Brand Match from Sainsbury’s.

“It comes as no surprise that, as shoppers try to control their budgets, an aggressive stance on price is driving retailer communication,” said Kantar’s Edward Garner.

“The end result would appear to be a zero-sum game, as the performances from the big four show only marginal differences this period, with no outright winner.”

While Aldi posted year-on-year growth of 18.8%, growing its market share from 2.3% to 2.6%, Kantar said the rate of growth for the discounters was now slackening – suggesting they might feel the impact of the supermarkets’ relentless focus on price.

“Given the universal emphasis on price across the sector, the big four retailers will need to differentiate themselves,” said Garner.

“Own-label brands are an obvious way of doing this.  We are already seeing double-digit growth for Tesco Finest and substantial revamps for own-label ranges at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. This might be a key battleground, going forward.”

Read more
Shoppers cynical over latest pricing initiatives (31 October 2011)
Shoppers desperate for discounters to move in, claims IGD (27 October 2011)
Aldi again leads the way for growth (11 October 2011)