>>THE ISSUES THAT MATTER, FROM THE PEOPLE INVOLVED
Our report on this month’s Tradetrak market share figures on page 21 throws a fascinating nugget of information: namely that more than 20% of all households have visited a hard discount outlet in the past four weeks.
Separately, the TNS figures show that the hard discounters have just enjoyed their best month with their highest-ever market share of 5.1%.
There’s no doubt that in this polarised retail market, consumers have become increasingly comfortable with the idea of visiting an Aldi, Lidl or Netto. As we reported a few months ago, 70% of shoppers agree that there’s nothing wrong with the idea of discount grocery shopping. But these same shoppers also offered up all sorts of reasons why they don’t use them more often - with range, ambience and location coming at the top of their list of moans.
Now, Netto and Aldi have been making more of an effort to woo these reluctant shoppers with better-looking stores and revamped products - and the market share figures published this week would suggest their efforts are paying off.
Better still, the hard discounters can take advantage of the fact that Iceland and Kwik Save are both finding life pretty tough at the moment.
But if they are to keep the momentum going, the hard discounters will need to open more stores. In the consumer research we published in May, 37% of shoppers said they would be tempted to use discount grocery stores if they were in more convenient locations.
There’s a problem though. And it’s a biggie. As our story on page 8 explains, the Competition Commission seems to have barred the hard discounters from buying any stores from the top supermarket groups because they are, apparently, not effective competitors. Unless that ruling is changed, they can only pick up the scraps left by the big boys in any future store divestments.
Ridiculous, I know, especially when you consider just how seriously Tesco, in particular, is taking the threat posed by these chains. It doesn’t see them as ineffective competition; which is why it is so paranoid about giving them any room for manoeuvre.
Yet again, it seems, the competition authorities are showing that they are living on an altogether different planet to us.
Snag in rise of discounters