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Festive figures: Grocers celebrate small victories despite minimal growth

Published:  13 January, 2015

Despite "modest growth" of 0.6% across the grocery market during the festive period, Kantar Worldpanel says this gives cause to celebrate - representing the biggest boost across the sector since August 2014.  

Today's figures cover the 12 weeks through to January 4, 2015, and Fraser McKevitt, Kantar's head of retail & consumer insight, said "this slight acceleration gives the industry some small reason for festive cheer".

Sainsbury's saw the best performance in sales through the festive period and knocked Asda out of the number two spot, becoming the second largest grocer in Britain for the first time since 2003.

"It is this seasonal effect that Sainsbury's has exploited to move its market share to 16.9%. Down against last year, but critically ahead of Asda on 16.8%. This is the first time Sainsbury's has claimed the number spot since 2003, so big news," said McKevitt.

Despite Sainsbury's having the strongest performance of the big four supermarkets, sales still fell by 0.7% over the latest period. Additionally McKevitt warned that Sainsbury's success may be short-lived.

He said: "We do anticipate that Asda stand a good chance of regaining their lead once Christmas drops out of the 12 week ending numbers."

Sainsbury's was not the only grocer celebrating the festive trading numbers. Waitrose saw an uptick in sales of 6.6% and Aldi, which was up 23% and Lidl which was up 15%, continued to gain ground. Despite Tesco's continuing falling sales, that decline does appear to be slowing. 

"Tesco's decline of 1.2% is their best result since March, adding weight to the theory that the very worst might be behind them, as least for now," said McKevitt.