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Sales in the UK’s supermarkets are growing at their fastest rate in more than two and a half years amid inflation-driven price rises, according to new data from Kantar Worldpanel.

In the 12 weeks to 26th February 2017, supermarket sales grew at their fastest rate since June 2014 – a rise of 2.3 per cent compared to the same period last year – the group said in its monthly update on sales across the UK’s top food retailers.

Rising inflation drove up the cost of staples such as butter, tea and fish which saw prices rise by more than 5 per cent during the past 12 weeks. But prices did not rise across the board, with the cost of crisps, bacon and eggs falling over the period.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, also put the 2.3 per cent overall price rise in perspective:

Like-for-like inflation has doubled since last month to stand at 1.4% during the past 12 weeks. However, when placed in their longer-term context, these price increases are still fairly minimal.

He added that the “big four” – the UK’s largest supermarkets comprising Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – continued to be “a force to be reckoned with”, holding over 70 per cent of the market despite the rise of discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.

Asda continued to lose market share over the period, with sales falling 0.8 per cent compared to the 12-week period last year, though Kantar pointed out this was still its best period since November 2014. Aldi and Lidl saw the fastest growth rate over the period at 12.9 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

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