Xmas shoppers spend £1bn more than previous year


German discounters Lidl and Aldi shared the title of Britain's fastest growing supermarket in the last three months of 2017, as the average household shrugged off economic worries to spend a record £1,054 on groceries, figures show.

Past year bought a raft of innovation to the mince pie fixture, including what are claimed to be the first supermarket vegan pies and gingerbread mince pies, which were highly commended in British Baker's Christmas Stars competition.

The FTSE 100 retailer is one of the most shorted stocks in London - i.e. traders betting that the share price is primed to head south - so it was something of a surprise that it saw like-for-like sales rise 2.8% in the 10 weeks to January 7. This is the lowest level of promotional activity at Christmas since 2009.

Both retailers increased their sales by 16.8% compared with the same period the previous year, taking Aldi's share of the entire United Kingdom grocery market to 6.8% from 6% a year earlier and Lidl's to 5% from 4.4%, Kantar Worldpanel said.

"Discounters tend to lose a little market share compared to earlier in the year as many shoppers return to the more traditional supermarkets in search of old favourites". The combined market share of the two German supermarkets stood at 11.8%, up from 10.4% a year earlier, attracting almost one million additional households during the period, Kantar added.

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Tesco performed best of the Big Four supermarkets. Aldi's market share rose to 6.8% from 6.0%, while Lidl's increased to 5.0% from 4.4%, Kantar said.

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Meanwhile, Asda's sales grew by 2.2 per cent.

Britons spent £1 billion more than past year over the three months including Christmas, with the average household spending a record £1,054 on groceries.

Morrisons increased sales by 2.1% - with strongest growth coming from ambient and frozen foods - though the grocer's market share fell by 0.2 percentage points to 10.7%.

Sainsbury's managed to increase sales across its convenience stores, larger supermarkets and online deliveries, growing by two per cent overall. This is against the backdrop of the retailer's continuing strategy of moving away from promotions, selling 5.6% fewer items on offer than during the same period past year.

Sainsbury's market share fell by 0.3 percentage points to 16.4 per cent.

Online sales played a key part in the month with 18% of households shopping online for groceries in December (up from 16% last year). Online sales grew 5 per cent, resulting in the channel hitting a high of 6.4 per cent share of all grocery sales in the final quarter.