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Shoppers flock to Lidl as German supermarket hits record UK market share

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
A logo sign outside of a Lidl grocery retail store in Middletown, Delaware on April 29, 2018. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA)
Lidl is gobbling up market share. Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA

Lidl has gained 618,000 new shoppers in the past year, reaching a record share of sales across UK supermarkets.

New stores, refurbishments and a newspaper voucher scheme helped the German discounter lure new shoppers, according to the latest Worldpanel survey data from market research firm Kantar.

The figures suggest the company saw its sales soar by 9.2% to £1.6bn in the 12 weeks to 8 September compared to a year earlier.

About 6% of all sales in UK supermarkets are now at the retailer.

Rival discounter Aldi also saw its market share increase rapidly, up 6.3% over the same period.

Online grocery chain Ocado (OCDO.L) saw the fastest rise in in sales, up 12.7% to a reported £365m. Ocado’s ice cream, cheese and sparkling wine saw some of the fastest growth in sales.

READ MORE: Aldi plans massive London expansion as sales soar

The biggest four supermarkets all saw their sales slide, with Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Asda and Morrisons (MRW.L) all in negative territory over the year.

Sainsbury’s suffered the smallest hit, with sales down 0.1% to a reported £4.1bn, while Morrisons was hit hardest with sales down 2% to £2.7bn.

Share of UK supermarket sales in September 2019. Photo: Kantar
Share of UK supermarket sales in September 2019. Photo: Kantar

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “Lidl has crossed the 6% market share line for the first time, and an additional 618,000 shoppers visited the retailer compared with last year, helped by store openings, refurbishments and its newspaper voucher deals.

“Having moved through the 5% barrier as recently as May 2017, the retailer has taken just over two years to add another percentage point to its market share – one that’s worth £1.2bn annually.”

READ MORE: Lidl replacing Waitrose could dent house prices ‘in Tory heartlands’

He added that rival Aldi’s strongest growth had come from the south of England, where sales were up almost 9%.

“The discounter’s lowest market share continues to be in London, where it only accounts for 3.3% of grocery sales, so it’s unsurprising that this week it announced plans to more than double its number of stores within the M25,” he said.

Aldi said on Monday it planned to double its London store count to more than 100 shops, with a particular focus on much smaller Aldi local stores.