Tesco’s sales are back on the up

Tesco’s sales were back in the black for the first time in a year, according to the latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, as the overall market grew at its fastest rate since last summer.

Kantar’s total till roll data showed Tesco’s sales edging up by 0.3% for the 12 weeks ending 1 February – its first sales rise since January 2014. The figures showed that the supermarket attracted an additional 236,000 shoppers into its stores in the last 12 weeks.

Tesco’s sales growth, boosted by solid Christmas trading and a raft of January price cuts, will be a boost to new CEO Dave Lewis as the supermarket embarks on executing his new strategic plan.

However, the sales boost was not enough to maintain Tesco’s market share, which slipped to 29% from 29.3% a year ago as the overall grocery market grew by 1.1%. The 1.1% rise in grocery sales for the twelve week period was the largest increase since June 2014.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented: “Shoppers are taking advantage of both lower fuel prices and the continuing price war among the supermarkets to slightly increase their grocery spending.  This has pushed the market into 1.1% growth, low by historical standards but a considerable improvement compared to November 2014, when the market contracted.”

“All of the major grocers have continued to compete fiercely on price leading to like-for-like grocery prices falling by 1.2%.  This is another record low, saving Britain’s shoppers £327 million over the past 12 weeks.”

Asda reclaimed the second spot in UK grocery after briefly surrendering it to Sainsbury’s in last month’s figures.

Despite Asda’s sales dropping at the fastest rate amongst the big four (1.7% down over the 12-week period), its market share of 16.9% was enough to take second place. Sainsbury’s recorded a 1% sales fall to edge its market share down to 16.7% from 17.1% a year ago.

Morrisons remained in negative growth, but the 0.4% sales decline (taking its market share to 11.1%) was significantly lower than it recorded during the second half of 2014.

Waitrose remained in impressive growth, with its market share climbing to 5.2% after a 7.2% sales boost.

The discounters continued to enjoy double-digit growth, but as The Grocer noted in December, the pace of their sales and market share gains has started to slow.

McKevitt noted: “Early results suggest that discounters Aldi and Lidl will find their accelerated growth levels hard to match in 2015.  Aldi’s growth of 21.2% is still impressive but a relative slowing from its 36% peak in April 2014.  Likewise, Lidl’s maximum growth of 24% in May last year is now down to 14.2%.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel